Medina County girls invited to STEM camp


The Medina County branch of the American Association of University Women is helping to send seventh- and eighth-grade girls to the Be Wise STEM Camp to encourage them to continue in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

“We want girls to excel in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math and this is a way that they can bond with other girls that have like interests,” said Jeri Penn, the AAUW Be Wise chair.

Joann Benseler, a teacher and AAUW member, started the camp in the 1980s. This year, the all-girls camp will be held from June 9–14 at Kenyan College.

“The girls stay right there in the dorms and they use all the labs and facilities of the college,” Penn said Thursday.

The camp is open to girls across the state and costs $550, but the Medina County branch of AAUW will sponsor two scholarships to cover the cost of attending.

The organization asks students to pay $75 toward the cost and the AAUW will cover the rest with the scholarship.

Money for the scholarship is raised through the organization’s yearly book sale. This year, it will take place April 10-13 and the location is to be determined.

The deadline to apply for the scholarship is Feb. 11, and students are required to answer an essay question and provide two teacher recommendations.

Penn, along with AAUW President Kathy Kraus and Communications Chair Patricia Chaloupek agree there are several benefits that girls get from the camp.

“Junior high school age is the age where girls are like ‘I’m so interested in what other people think of me,’ ” said Chaloupek.

“Bringing them into a camp situation where they are with other girls who think the same way that they do … and so they go to the camp and the see that they aren’t alone and that their ideas are worth something.”

The instructors who work at the camp are certified science teachers while some of the counselors are girls who have participated in STEM activities and camps previously.

“The benefits are that you build self-confidence, too,” said Kraus.

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For more information on the Be Wise Camp, visit

Contact reporter Alyssa Alfano at

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