The Ottumwa Courier

June 20, 2013

GEMS camp sparkles for girls

By CINDY TOOPES Courier staff writer
Ottumwa Courier

---- — OTTUMWA — Gems are usually considered part of a jewelry experience.

But the girls attending the two-day GEMS Camp at Indian Hills Community College found out Thursday that these gems are “Girls Exploring Math and Science.” And they also know the camp has activities such as “Girl-Powered Cars,” which involves computer programming.

Other activities for girls who “just want to have fun” can include designing a wooden race car and doing the sanding themselves.

Jacklyn Derby, 11, of Davis County, has participated in GEMS all three years of the event. She said this year’s camp has included more about computers.

“And this is my first year to make electricity with oranges,” she said. “We also learned how to make air pressure.”

Derby also worked on cutouts of race cars, which she has worked on every year in Girl Scouts. She’s too young to use the saw herself, so she watched while Shawn Lowe, a student at Indian Hills, handle a power saw to cut out her small race car. After he cut out the race car, Derby did the sanding.

Jessica Klosterman, 10, of Ottumwa, a student at Eisenhower Elementary School, said she had a lot of fun last year with all the girls.

“We made planes out of two-liter pop bottles,” she said. “It was really fun. We flew them, and it worked!”

The two-day GEMS Camp at IHCC gives area girls the opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), while having fun on a college campus.

Officials noted the camp helps to increase the girls’ knowledge and interest in careers in technology and engineering.

Luann Eakins, an assistant coordinator for high school program at IHCC, said the camp has more than 50 students registered for GEMS.