UWindsor camp to help young women Build a Dream

A special camp for young women that began Wednesday at UWindsor’s School of Creative Arts aims to spark interest in science, technology engineering and math.

Ten Windsor-Essex County students in grades 9 to 12 will be exploring technology and expressing their creativity at the Build a Dream 3D modelling workshop. The three-day camp teaches the young women the basics of creating and editing digital objects and printing them in 3D. At the end of the program, the students get to take their creations home.

“There is a lot of data to show that girls will begin to lose interest in STEM as they get older,” said Nour Hachem-Fawaz, Build a Dream president and founder. “Engaging them with exciting opportunities like these is one of the ways that we can keep them interested, and demonstrate what they can do with tech skills.”

Using 3D printers lets the young women take a project from the idea stage to a finished project. In the process, they learn about the breadth of applications for the technology and related careers. Hachem-Fawaz cites the manufacture of medical devices as an example.

“We really need to start telling the stories of how jobs where women are currently under-represented are not just viable and successful career options for women, but you can also do things that change and help the world around you.

SOCA professor Rod Strickland said the camp combines STEM and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).

“STEAM is an inclusive approach to learning that encourages students to practise creative problem-solving and communication skills through hands-on, process-driven projects,” he said. “Tomorrow’s innovative thinkers will become the designers and engineers of our technological world.”

─ Sarah Sacheli