EAST COUNTY — The stars aligned for 17-year-old Lindsay Wheeler.
The upcoming senior at Lakewood Ranch High School discovered a love of science while visiting the South Florida Museum’s Bishop Planetarium the summer before her junior year.
“That got me interested in physics — the physics of light: why stars twinkle and how light bends (to make the different colors in a sunset),” Wheeler said, adding she started volunteering with the museum following that visit.
Now, Wheeler, a Girl Scout, hopes to share her love for science with other youths, as she hosts a camp for girls grades six through eight. The camp will focus on the concept of STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education.
“I want to spark their interest in STEM before they enter high school,” Wheeler said.
The camp runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 18, at the South Florida Museum, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 19, at the Boys & Girls Club’s Bradenton location. Camp costs $10, and the registration deadline is July 15.
Wheeler is using the summer camp as a way to earn her Girl Scouts’ Gold Award.
She came up with the idea to focus on STEM, after seeing research from the Girl Scout Research Institute online.
“They had a lot of statistics about how girls are not as confident as boys regarding STEM,” Wheeler said. During Wheeler’s camp, girls not only will do hands-on STEM projects, such as designing and building floatable concrete boats, but they also will hear from women in STEM professions, including scientists from Mote Marine Laboratory.
On the second day of camp, the girls will test their designs and will take what they learned to the Boys & Girls Club, where they will teach children about their experiments and science and also conduct experiments.
Wheeler, who took Advanced Placement physics and calculus, as well as an engineering class, her junior year and will take AP chemistry next school year, said she wishes she had been exposed to STEM earlier in her education.
“I want these girls to (develop an) interest and confidence I have now, but earlier,” she said.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
STEM CAMP FOR GIRLS
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 18, at the South Florida Museum, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 19, at the Boys & Girls Club Bradenton branch, 1415 Ninth St. W.
Cost: $10 per child
Info: Registration due July 15. Contact Lindsay Wheeler at email@example.com or 720-5713.