When getting girls interested in STEM fields, starting early can be key. That’s part of what makes the STEM Program at Munger Elementary Middle School special.

The program, presented by the women of environmental management and safety at DTE, gave fourth through eighth grade girls the chance to learn from women in STEM through eight sessions through the school year.

Each session covered something different – topics like nutrition, chemical engineering and electrical safety – giving students a chance to experience different parts of STEM fields to find what might interest them while benefitting them in other ways, too. 

“I’ve absolutely seen the confidence levels increase in our young ladies,” Ellen Hoyer, program liaison at Munger Elementary Middle School, said. “Seeing new women in different careers on a weekly basis allows our students to see the network of jobs & opportunities out there!  Other moments: the thrill of graduation, becoming familiar with new vocabulary and knowing these women will mentor them even in high school.”

The program is designed to engage girls throughout the elementary and middle school years and then continue as a mentorship as they advance into high school and beyond, helping to nurture a growing passion in the STEM fields.

“Getting girls started in STEM at an early age helps support their confidence and motivation in pursuing STEM fields as they progress in their education,” Kailyn Johnson, environmental supervisor and program mentor, said. “Promoting diversity in STEM fields is critical while careers in STEM are continuing to grow in demand. We are allowing the girls to see that women in STEM careers is a very achievable pathway for them.”

While the students reap the benefits of the program, the mentors from DTE do, too.

“While we know the kids are always watching and learning from us, being part of this kind of program makes me realize how much we are learning from them,” Lindsay Wold, associate engineer in environmental strategy and program mentor, said. “Kids are super creative, curious and innovative and it is always inspiring to be part of programs that allow us to share our experiences but also learn more about others at the same time.”