Young Students From All Over Texas Visit UT Campus for STEM Girl Day
Mar 18, 2024

Young Students From All Over Texas Visit UT Campus for STEM Girl Day

Reporting Texas TV

AUSTIN, Texas – Sometimes Speedway can be more than just a walk to class. For elementary and middle school students from different cities across Texas, it provided a path to learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

“I came here to see future college paths I can take and what I like the most about it,” said Antionette Hernandez, an eighth grader from Arlington. “I also wanted to come here for the experience and to live life and to experience things that some kids might not have and I got the privilege to go.”

Parents, children and friends gathered in front of UT’s Engineering Education and Research Center on Feb. 24, 2024 in Austin to watch a group of scientists conduct experiments with chemicals (Julia Mahavier, Reporting Texas TV).

For two decades, The University of Texas at Austin has hosted its annual STEM Girl Day to honor scientists, engineers, mathematicians and leaders of the STEM world, specifically the women in these spaces. UT students, alumni and practicing engineers and scientists come to demonstrate interactive activities and provide a safe learning environment. 

In front of UT’s engineering buildings, family and friends witnessed experiments involving chemical reactions like how dried ice works. 

“I’m an engineer by degree, I worked in industry for a number of years and I remember feeling sometimes of being the only one in the room,” said Tricia Berry, the Executive Director of Women in STEM at UT.

For some kids, it’s important to attend events that highlight their identities. 

“You feel more comfortable around with your surroundings. You feel like you can be yourself and just experience everything,” Hernandez said. “Some men are older and still kind of living in the past. They think women can’t do things that men can do, but when you prove them wrong it gives you that feeling that we can.”

While STEM Girl Day can be a place of fun and excitement, Berry said she wants it to be a place where children can picture themselves in a STEM career. 

“I want to make sure that those coming behind me all of these girls, but really all of these kids, know that anyone belongs in STEM. That STEM is not just for those who are deemed smart, that are anointed gifted and talented, it’s for everybody. We need problem solvers of all kinds of different abilities, from all kinds of different backgrounds,” Berry said.

Eric Pace watched his four-year-old daughter discover science through arts and crafts. 

He wanted her to hear from someone else that she can grow up to be anything.

“We gave her the name Enzo to be an empowering name and we want her to have the opportunity to follow whatever career path that she wants,” Pace said, as Enzo sat on his shoulders blowing air into her balloon experiment. “I think the more that we encourage females to get into the STEM field and feel like they’re accepted for who they are, the better the world is going to be.”