Career and Technical Education (CTE) of St. Johns County

Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Academy Students To Pursue STEM

Debra Bienert, Academy Advisory Board partner with Nease’s Stellar Academy of Engineering, is passionate about encouraging young women to pursue careers in math, science, and engineering.  A former electrical engineer and math professor, Debra met with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade girls at Palm Valley Academy. She hoped to inspire the young ladies to shake off any intimidation about taking on high-level math and science classes, and to pursue careers in STEM, like engineering.  Accompanied by Nease’s Academy Coordinator, Jaime Combs, who spoke with the girls about the Stellar Academy of Engineering, the girls asked questions before tackling their hands-on challenges.  First, the students worked in teams to create pyramids out of cups without actually touching a single cup.  Then, they worked through Nonogram logic puzzles.  The young ladies truly excelled at these challenges, and we hope that the visit encouraged them to take part in STEM programs at the high school level.