zdi Girls Camp 2023: MINT educational opportunities for everyone

The highlight of this year was on October 26th Heroine October The zdi girls camp took place for the second time. At the girls' camp, the community can show what it has to offer in terms of STEM girls' work. The offers are also put to the test: What are young people - especially girls - really interested in and how can enthusiasm for technology be aroused? In over 13 workshops, students from the Gütersloh district were able to try out MINT educational opportunities together, examine them closely and give feedback.

A group of people pose for a photo in front of a banner.
From the left, front row: Juliane Orth, Gesche Neusel, Valmira, Thea, Dr. Rebecca Goebel, Franziska Monkenbusch from left to right second row: Britta Bollmann, Daniela Hartmann, Kerstin Helmerdig, Martin Ley-Schweppe, Hubert Erichlandwehr

Discover the diversity of MINT

In addition to actors from the zdi community, local players also took part with their own workshops. ARI Armaturen gave an insight into the company and the apprenticeships available there. Together with the students, they clarified the question of what fittings have to do with MINT. The HORA company made the diversity of the engineering profession clear in their workshop, in which they highlighted the different areas of application of engineers in their company. The zdi student laboratory experiMINT DiGiTal Gütersloh discussed with students how programming can improve the world and the craft education center spoke to the students about girls in the construction trade. Of course, the workshops also focused on very practical application examples: screwing, hammering, soldering and programming took place.

Parents also played a role at the zdi girls' camp because they are important partners and role models when it comes to young people's career and study choices. Parents should therefore also be sensitized to cliché-free career and study orientation in a workshop supervised by the zdi state office (LGS) - just like a group of students who also took part in a workshop held by the zdi-LGS in collaboration with the municipal coordination office Workshop to discuss gender stereotypes in the professional world.

A group of people sit at a table with laptops at the zdi girls camp.
Two girls work on a wooden structure at the zdi girls camp.
A group of girls are working on a project at the zdi girls camp.
A group of girls sits at a table with a tablet at the zdi girls camp.
A toy car sitting on a table in a classroom at the zdi girls camp. Two girls are sitting in the background.

Gender Data Gap – Why different perspectives are so important

To get in the mood for the topic, the students were treated to a lecture on the “Gender Data Gap”. The speakers Gesche Neusel and Juliane Orth from the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences worked together on the research project “Electrical engineering instead of BibisBeautyPalace”. In the zdi heroine interview They told us in detail about their work in the project and the insights they gained from it. In their lecture “Gender Data Gap: Why your perspective is important” they shared their findings with the students. They also made an appeal to the students: “Support each other, network and recommend each other! We must also continue to reduce the prejudices of women against women!” Already in Interview as part of the zdi Heroines October The two of them wanted active participation in the discussion.

Juliane Orth implemented this participation with an online survey asking: What is particularly important to young people when it comes to technology communication?

Here, the everyday relevance of MINT topics was clearly an important factor.

A screen with a bar chart with different colors. The text says: "What is most important to you?". In first place is “Topics that are close to my everyday life”. In second place is “entertainment and fun while watching the video”. In third place is “connection with other areas of life, e.g. sport or music”. In fourth place is “Showing problems, challenges and mistakes in using technology”. In fifth place is “professional and aesthetic design”. In 1th place is “Simple language, so no technical terms or foreign words”. At number 2 is “People like me should explain the technology.”

Following the lecture, MINT actors and students got into conversation in a discussion group: The two students Thea and Valmira were able to meet with Britta Bollmann, senior ministerial councilor and responsible for zdi.NRW in the Ministry of Culture and Science, the head of zdi -Student laboratories experiMINTDiGiTal Dr. Rebecca Goebel and Martin Ley-Schweppe from the craft training center exchange ideas. The points from the previous lecture were also taken up. Britta Bollmann agreed with the speakers that better solutions can only be achieved by thinking in new ways. The perspective of girls and women in MINT could contribute to this.

A group of people stand on a stage.
From left to right: Britta Bollmann, Thea, Valmira, Kerstin Helmerdig, Martin Lay-Schweppe, Dr. Rebecca Goebel.

Being able to try out MINT without the pressure of grades

But which approaches can help get more girls and women interested in MINT? Thea and Valmira do not lack contact with STEM at school. The zdi community’s extracurricular offerings are also good. Here you can give free rein to your curiosity about MINT without having to think about grades. What is missing, however, are girls and women in MINT professions. Martin Ley-Schweppe could only confirm this: “I often notice that young women do not have the confidence to pursue skilled trades, for example, because they think that they lack the physical strength. In practice, however, things look completely different! What women may lack in strength, they make up for in creative problem-solving strategies. Machines are then used instead of muscle power or the team is brought together to help.”

Conclusion: STEM is fun

In summary, the students made one thing clear at the end of the event: the workshops were exciting, varied and fun! The workshop participants were particularly enthusiastic about the smooth organization of the event by the Schloß-Holte-Stukenbrock comprehensive school.

This took place in 2022 zdi girls camp for the first time. One of the wishes that the students expressed there: include the boys in the work too. You also have to free yourself from clichés and role models. The zdi actors were happy to comply with the request and offered a “cliché-free” workshop. Others too Recommendations, which were derived from the results of last year's camp, could be implemented.

Here you can find the complete event documentation of the zdi Girls Camp 2022:

For example, in the workshops great emphasis was placed on contextualization and relevance to everyday life, career profiles (and their earning potential) were examined and emphasis was placed on teamwork.

The evaluation of the methods used will show which methods are particularly suitable for offering both young people and parents cliché-free career and study orientation.

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