UK hosts event to encourage FCPS students to pursue skills in STEM

WATCH | UK HOSTS EVENT TO ENCOURAGE FCPS STUDENTS TO PURSUE SKILLS IN STEM
Published: Jan. 21, 2023 at 12:49 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Women make up 50% of the overall workforce, but only 28% of the STEM workforce according to Dell.

That’s why the Girls Who Game program is designed to strengthen the girl-centric ecosystem and foster interest and engagement in STEM-related fields.

“How many of us already play Minecraft, right? So, all we wanted to do was say, ‘hey, let’s use this in the classroom,’” said Dr. Kendall Latham, Senior K-12 Education Strategist at Dell Technologies. “Let’s come together. Let’s figure out how we can solve a real-world challenge using Minecraft EDU.”

The real-world challenge? designing an all-inclusive park. Cardinal Run Park North will be 137 acres, with a $10 million budget.

“What you’re doing with your work, will translate into a whole bunch of money putting it into actual reality,” said Mayor Linda Gorton.

During a celebration on UK’s campus on Saturday, students got to Zoom with Alora Mazarakis, an engineer at NASA from Shelbyville Kentucky.

“A lot of times, I was the only girl in these programs, which wouldn’t change too much as I went through engineering school. But there is absolutely no doubt that participating in all of these really struck my interest in STEM concepts and really kind of showed me how they can be applicable to the real world, very much like girls who game,” said Alora Mazarakis, Flight Communications and Tracking Engineer for NASA.

Many parents, like Shantrell Washington, are glad that their young daughters were able to hear Alora’s story.

“Having that woman from NASA come and speak to them and just show them that women do have a place in this world and can grow and make things better for everyone and it’s just an inspiration to me as well,” said Shantrell Washington - Mother of 4th grader at Millcreek Elementary School.