PITA-Funded Engineering Camp Alum Advocates for S.T.E.M.
Article Posted On 3/10/2011
"The SEE program sparked something for me."
Fourteen-year old Calista Frederick-Jaskiewicz's commitment to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Science (S.T.E.M.) is passionate. In 2009, her interests brought her to the PITA-funded Summer Engineering Experience for Girls (SEE) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), a two-week summer camp for middle school girls. In SEE, she was given the encouragement to continue her pursuit of S.T.E.M. through the program's multidisciplinary engineering activities and mentoring component. Since participating in the SEE program, Calista has gone on to distinguish herself among her peers as a pioneer and a leader in advocating S.T.E.M. education.
"SEE is a motivating force for girls who want to study science," says Calista, a student at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School in Midland, PA. "After SEE, I got to thinking deeply about my own career options and what would be needed to position myself for a future in science."
Since participating in SEE, she has created and taught a program to encourage interest in S.T.E.M. in various local venues, including her own school. She calls her program "Origami Salami." Originally developed as her 2010-11 Young Ambassador project for the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, the course features origami, or paper folding, as a conduit to further S.T.E.M. studies.
"My mission is to inspire learners to think outside the book about S.T.E.M. subjects by studying folding. Folding science is everywhere - in flapping cranes and human brains, RNA and heart stents, solar sails and telescopes," Calista explains.
"Origami provides a way for participants to discover scientific application possibilities that lie hidden in this hobby. It empowers learners to think deeply about applications and become more motivated to take up the rigorous training needed to become innovators and scholars themselves."
Calista is now wrapping up contract development of a fully digital mini-course for middle schools about folding science for a national curriculum publisher. The course goes live in spring 2011 and features 13 videos she scripted. She is also involved with a community service component, called FoldingforGood. The program uses community events to explore the fun of S.T.E.M. through the adventure of folding, through which she and others participate in community events, focusing on the fun of S.T.E.M. through the adventure of folding.
"A little inspiration goes a long way. This SEE girl is in science for good." Calista then hints, "Who knows? Future classes of SEE girls might be spending a little time discovering folding science too!"