A summer camp in Mississippi is working to inspire the next generation of African American female engineers. MPB's Desare Frazier reports.
"If I had of been exposed to engineering in the way these children are being exposed to engineering, I'd probably be a mechanical engineer right now," said McGee
Twenty-two year old Ari'Ana McGee is the Jackson site director for SEEK-Summer Engineering Experience for Kids. The National Society of Black Engineers sponsors the three week hands on summer camp for 3rd through 5th graders.
"They're learning different things related to aerodynamics and airplanes. They've learned things dealing with gravity with their gravity cruiser toy and they're also learning different aspects of chemical engineering," said McGee.
Eleven-year old Makena Bailey enjoys problem solving.
"When you're making stuff like the glader and the gravity cruiser and something goes wrong, you have to look at other prototypes and see what you can do differently to yours and see what's wrong with it," said Bailey.
In 2010, there were just over 4600 African American students graduating with engineering degrees according to the National Action Council on Minorities in Engineering. McGee wants to increase the number of African American engineers by 20% by the year 2020.
"We have lemon," said teacher.
These 11-year olds are identifying different fragrances so they can create their own. Kyndal Pace is hooked and wants to be a chemical engineer. She's disappointed the camp doesn't continue through sixth grade.
"I wish that hey would add another year because this is really exciting for me," said Pace.
One-hundred and sixty students are participating in SEEK. The program is in its fourth year.