Excerpt from: KSTP
Published by: Crystal Bui

The annual Tech Fest took place Saturday in Bloomington. It was also the kickoff for a program that’s getting girls engaged with STEM.Over 500 kids got hands-on experience in everything from 3D printing to virtual reality.

“I like the engineering part more because I like to draw,” said Jaaliyah Divine, who is in eighth grade.“We want to get these girls excited at a young age so that they can do that and they can work with us in 10-15 years,” said Gretchen Benkendorf, who volunteers with “She Engineers.”

“She Engineers” is part of The Works Museum’s initiative to engage girls in positive and meaningful experiences with STEM. It aims to help girls see what their future can be if they continue exploring science, technology, engineering and math.Volunteers helped the girls make high-tech bracelets after they learned about simple circuits and power supplies.

“I want to, like, try to build like my own bracelet, and see if I can do that,” said Nadiya Omar, who is in fourth grade.“I worked hard to make this bracelet, and it’s very pretty and it glows,” said Jazzy Divine, who is in first grade.It’s just as fulfilling for those helping coordinate the program.

“When a kid is exposed to a fun element of engineering — because it sort of sounds kind of stuffy — when they sit down and they realize, ‘Everything is engineered, it’s all over the place,’ then it kind of opens doors for their future,” said Kara Newby, media relations coordinator at The Works Museum.The She Engineers program will be incorporated into other events throughout the year.