Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma knows the significance of women in STEAM and introducing girls to STEAM concepts at a young age. At The Boeing Company, a corporation that appreciates and supports their diverse employees, we also know how important it is for children to see people who reflect their race or gender in fields they may have thought unattainable.
It just makes sense for Boeing to team up with Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma to present Geekapalooza: A STEAM Festival for Kids, where young girls can celebrate science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
When I was growing up, I didn’t know I could be an engineer. I hadn’t met any black, female engineers — so I didn’t know it was a possibility for me.
Still, my love for science and problem solving developed at a young age, when my mom enrolled me in science camps in the summer. I loved the hands-on activities and remember the experiences well.
One day, my dad planted the idea of engineering in my head. I didn’t know what that entailed, so I began researching. Not knowing any engineers myself, and definitely not any black female engineers, becoming one was a scary prospect for me.
Representation is incredibly important. If young girls don’t see women in STEAM roles, they won’t be able to picture themselves in STEAM roles.
I first saw people who looked like me in engineering roles when I toured The University of Oklahoma and visited the Diversity and Inclusion Office. That moment was when I first met other black women engineers, and I knew there was a chance for me to become an engineer myself.
Geekapalooza is similar to the science camps I went to when I was a child. Those camps made an impact on me. They were my first introduction to STEAM, and I got to learn about what interests and excites me. I hope Geekapalooza can show young girls across Oklahoma that they can grow up to be whatever they want to be. I hope I can show young children that there’s someone else who looks like them in a male-dominated field.
During Geekapalooza, sponsors from across Oklahoma will provide hands-on STEAM activities for children ages 4 to 15.
I will join other volunteers from Boeing to host a foil boat challenge. I will lead young participants in an activity that encourages them to engineer the best foil boat they can. Once the boat is built, it will go through a number of tests to measure its abilities, like how many marbles or pennies it can hold without sinking.
Boeing holds giving back and getting involved in the community in high regard. We want to make sure we are representing women engineers and talking to children about engineering, hopefully being a role model for some.
Geekapalooza will take place on March 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Camp Trivera, 2508 N.E. 50th St. All proceeds will benefit Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma. A full list of activities is available at https://www.gswestok.org/en/activities/activity-list.html.
Tickets are available at https://www.gswestok.org/en/activities/Geekapalooza.html. Pre-sold tickets are $8 per child or $5 per adult. Tickets at the door are $10 per child and $5 per adult. Each ticket includes a timed entry, with options available for 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Ashley Medice is a design engineer for Executive Transport Services and Support at The Boeing Company. She serves as the Outreach Chair for the Society of Women Engineers and works to support diversity and inclusion for the Boeing Oklahoma City site. Medice was a Girl Scout in Oklahoma throughout elementary and middle school.