On Friday, August 26th, Senator Jeff Merkley visited Hillsboro High School to discuss the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education. HilHi junior Savannah Loberger gave a presentation about a project she undertook this summer: organizing a 5-day STEM summer camp called "Girls Get IT."
The camp was staffed by female engineering students who volunteered their time to coach, teach, and mentor 37 young women through hands-on activities that ranged from learning binary code to electrocuting pickles. Savannah pulled together funding and donations from local companies to provide supplies, food, and tech-centric goodie bags for participants (there was a lego keychain involved).
The whole crowd--which consisted of business and political leaders, STEM students, and the media--was impressed with Savannah's work, but Senator Merkley's reaction really summed it up: "That is easily the coolest project I've seen from a high school student," he said. "Also, what exactly happens when you electrocute a pickle?"
To hear the answer to that question and learn more about "Girls Get IT," check out Savannah's speech:
HilHi engineering and robotics teacher Don Domes spoke about the state of STEM education in Oregon and shared his vision for success in the future:
Thank you to Senator Merkley for visiting HilHi and championing STEM programs in congress, and thank you to Savannah Loberger, Mr. Domes, and others in our region who work hard every day to improve access to quality high tech education.
Steve Duin's column on Merkley's visit
Hillsboro Argus article on "Girls Get IT"
Salem-News article on Merkley's STEM legislation