Written by Taylor Sitorius, Eureka! Coordinator

Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis proudly launched our first Eureka! cohort with an explorative, empowering, and fun four-week summer camp at IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing. Eureka! is a year-round, five-year STEM intensive program that engages and empowers leadership and academic opportunities in STEM fields, starting with girls in eighth grade. In 2017, only 24% of women in the United States held jobs in STEM industries. Eureka! is seeking to combat this gender gap by diversifying and strengthening the leadership pipeline locally and nationally.

This summer during Week one the Eurekans started off strong – literally! – by demonstrating their mental & physical strength on the high ropes course at Jameson Camp. Eurekans got personal, sharing their passions, exploring their leadership potential, and expressing what makes each of them unique and important. Collaborators from IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing challenged students to solve mysteries by exploring personal digital archives and computer program code. They introduced Eurekans to Design Thinking, where Eurekans used creativity, persistence, and teamwork to prototype technology solutions addressing the question: “How might we help college students find a career path they will enjoy and succeed in?”

Week two of Eureka! Summer Camp focused on innovation in engineering and construction. Our week was supported by the strong, smart, and bold women of Cummins and Turner Construction. Eurekans witnessed the passion these women have for their careers and gained hands-on engineering experience as they built structures to withstand heavy weight, developed efficient wind turbines, and pitched smart technology innovations to their peers.

Week three of Eureka! Summer Camp was full of adventure! Eurekans started the week developing phone apps with collaborators from Salesforce. Each app development team used MIT App Inventor to code a use-friendly phone app that addressed one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainability Development Goals. Eurekans visited Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry where they explored exhibits including Science Storms: Wonder Is All Natural, Makers United, and Wired to Wear.

The final week of 2019 Eureka! Summer Camp was a busy one! Eurekans started their week working with a supporting sponsor, Corteva Agriscience. Corteva challenged Eurekans to consider how the general American population is disconnected from where their food comes from. In response, students developed concepts for food trucks that addressed the path of food from farm to table. Students from both Marian University and Indiana University Medical School introduced Eurekans to the life of a physician. Eurekans modeled DNA, diagnosed patient profiles, and learned about the negative impact of smoking. Eureka! presenting sponsor Delta Faucet supported Eurekans as they created water filters using household objects like coffee filters, bandannas, and cups. Prototypes were designed and re-designed until students demonstrated their device could filter vegetable oil, rocks, and food coloring.

On our last day, Eurekans proudly presented their achievements at the 2019 Eureka! Summer Camp Final Exhibition. They created posters about each experience, highlighting things they learned and high impact opportunities. We were overjoyed with demonstrations of support and encouragement from families, friends, and collaborators who attended.

We are overwhelmed with gratitude to all the girls, families, investors, volunteers and staff that helped make this first cohort possible. We are grateful for you!

Congratulations to Eurekans and their families on an incredible first summer!