By ROGER AMSDEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The Huot Technical Center's Girls Technology Camp proved a big hit with a group of middle school girls from around the Lakes Region, who got to do a variety of things, such as launching their own rockets, making their own movies, taking DNA samples and cooking their own meals.
The camp, which ran for a week at the Huot Center and wound up on Friday, brought together 13 girls from the Laconia, Gilford and Inter-Lakes school districts and was designed to encourage them to look at careers which would involve science, math, technology and engineering, the so-called STEM area.
Pre-engineering instructor Ken Martin said that the program is designed to introduce the students to a variety of future career paths and encourages them to look at the range of programs offered at the Huot Center.
The students explored bio-medical technology, culinary arts, Digital media arts, health science, law enforcement and engineering and got lots of hands-on experience in each of the areas.
“They learned how to take fingerprints and to produce and edit their own movies, as well getting to launch their own rockets,” said Martin.
He said that the center received an incentive grant for the program which allowed them to buy equipment and bring in a number of teachers for each of the six units.
He said that Aria Stephan, who will enter her senior year at Gilford this fall, was brought in as a program assistant and has done a remarkable job of interacting with the students and getting them involved in thinking about their futures and the steps needed to achieve their goals.
Stephan moved to Gilford three years ago from the Houston, Texas, area, and said she always been interested in engineering.
“When I found out about the Huot Center I was very impressed to see that they have the same machines used in local industries that taught real-world skills.” she said.
Stephan was able to shadow Martin as an instructor before she even took a course at the center and that helped her earn her role as an assistant instructor for this summer's program. And, as a young woman looking at a non-traditional career, she cheers on the girls she works with and encourages them to excel..
“It's amazing watching them make things with their own hands and realize that it's not as difficult as they thought. Building confidence in their own skills is a really important lesson,” said Stephan.
Martin said making movies was one of the more popular activities of the week and required a degree of planning and collaboration that was important for the students.
“They had to put down their ideas on a storyboard and someone had to serve as director to set things up and tell the cameras when to roll. Then they worked together in the afternoon to edit the film clips to their liking and turn it into a complete movie. It was a good experience for all three groups,” said Martin.
Tieana Florence of Laconia and Haven Lopez of Meredith said that making the movies was their favorite part of the week while Alainnah Penny of Gilford said the digital art work was her favorite part of the week,
Several of the students, including Delissa Brooks of Gilford, said that they are looking toward careers in the medical field and were glad to have the opportunity to learn more about what it entails and the skills they need to acquire.
Bailee Laramie and Tieana Florence, both from Laconia, work on a parachute for a rocket at the Girls Technology Camp at the Huot Technical Center in Laconia. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)
Delissa Brooks of Gilford works on a rocket at the Girls Technology Camp at the Huot Technical Center in Laconia, as Ken Martin, pre-engineering instructor at the center, looks on. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)
Ellie Hornkoh of Center Harbor, Haven Lopez of Meredith and Alexa Lazazzera, Meredith work on programming at the Girls Technology Camp at the Huot Technical Center in Laconia. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)
Alainnah Penney of Gilford works on a drawing at the Girls Technology Camp at the Huot Technical Center in Laconia. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)
Aria Stephan, a student intern at the Girls Technology Camp, talks with Kathryn Osburn of Gilford about the rocket she worked on. (Roger Amsden/Laconia Daily Sun)
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