'Ladies in the Lab' Event Inspires Young Girls to Look Into STEM Fields
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A group of girls from in and around the Charlottesville area are working to break down barriers in science and tech-related fields.
On Sunday, they took part in ‘Ladies in the Lab’ to get more familiar with engineering and encourage them to build those skills. Dozens of girls gathered on University of Virginia Grounds to take part in different hands-on workshops taught by different clubs from the university.
“I see it in my classes. I've seen it in my intro to engineering classes so it'd be nice to have more girls in the field,” said Sanjana Hajela, event organizer of Ladies in the Lab and computer science major at UVA. “I would say it's a 70/30 relationship in most of my classes."
Hajela works to grow those numbers by introducing young girls to skills in fields like science, technology, and engineering.
“Just kind of push them towards the STEM direction so that when they're taking classes in school and when they choose what college they want to go to they'll have engineering in mind ‘cause we do need more women in engineering,” said Hajela.
During the Ladies in the Lab event, Artela Aljiji and other girls took part in different hands-on activities.
“The cars, the cars were really cool, it was a lot of fun to make,” said Aljiji.
Other stations included 3D printing, an interactive set-up with NASA and building some tasty catapults.
“Just everything in STEM I think is represented very well at this event so the girls can see a lot of the really cool things they can do,” said Hajela.
Hajela hopes the event showed girls that STEM fields are not just for men.
“Women bring I mean a different perspective just as any person would but being able to have a different type of critical thinking and just the different life experiences,” said Hajela.
“Women can do the same thing as a man, there's no differences about that,” said Axandrea Chittenden, Fluvanna Middle School.
“I actually am in advanced Algebra so I really want to advance in that so I can maybe do something with engineering and help our community,” said Aljiji.
The event marked the fifth year of the Ladies in the Lab event, which is geared toward girls in middle and high school. Event organizers said they're looking into expanding the event to occur twice each year.