Girls focus on STEM at camp

YOUNGSTOWN — Girls from Trumbull and Mahoning counties heard about engineering and technology through the Summer Manufacturing Institute summer camps.

The campers also received assistance from the YWCA Mahoning Valley and OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology.

Ralf Urbach, director of edutainment at the OH WOW! Center, said the YWCA held a three-week Y-Girls STEAM Ahead Camp for girls, including one week spent with the OH WOW! Center.

“The camp is a little different than what has been held in prior years. There are three weeks for the camp in Youngstown and five weeks at the camp in Warren. OH WOW! is with them for one week each,” he said.

The camp was strictly for girls to focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Urbach, known as Mr. Ralf, said the theme was “transportation” with visits to local manufacturing companies that make gears, wheels, and other items for motor vehicles, such as go carts and race cars.

Girls each worked on a motor vehicle.

One visit was to KTSDI, a local manufacturer in the highway vehicle design and controls market.

“They learned how things are manufactured at different companies. I gave each girl a different kit to make a drone, hovercraft and car. When they opened their kits, they found parts missing. Based on what they learned at the local companies they visited, they were to create that piece,” Urbach said.

Other visits were to Taylor Winfield and Brilex to see manufacturing trades at work.

Ka’Mila Perez, 11, of Warren, said what she liked best was visiting the different companies.

“It was fun to see what they do there and then to make our vehicles,” she said, noting she made a hovercraft.

Perez said she learned the importance the companies play in transportation.

The girls in the program showed what they learned during a final showcase held Friday at the YWCA in Youngstown.

Suzanne Barbati, director of the OH WOW! Center, said, “It is a fantastic opportunity for the girls to see the different companies and what they do.

“They key for us is to make our youngest citizens aware of the workforce development ecosystem. They are learning about transportation and manufacturing,” she said.

The YWCA is planning another camp in Warren July 8 to Aug. 9.