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STEM Expo coming to East Suffolk

The STEM Girls Shine Expo returns to East Suffolk on July 20 for its third year, with plans to give young girls a fun opportunity to learn, discover and explore subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The free event, designed especially for girls in the third through fifth grades, will take place at the East Suffolk Recreation Center at 138 S. Sixth St. from 10 a.m. to noon.

Dr. Yovonda Kolo, a Suffolk native and a 25-year public school educator and administrator, is sponsoring and hosting the event. She said the event is designed to promote academic inquiry for girls.

“This is really just to engage young girls and get them exposed and excited about what the world of STEM has to offer,” Kolo said.

She said the event would be full of engineering, coding and some simple science experiments in a fun, engaging learning environment.

Kolo has hosted STEM events in Minna, Nigeria from 2016 to 2018, and hosts a STEM event for both boys and girls in Maryland.

She said the East Suffolk event is also about helping parents understand the possibilities of STEM-related pursuits, whether the girls end up choosing one as a career or a hobby or simply helping them better understand the world around them.

She said she doesn’t want girls to miss out on future opportunities by not having STEM skills, and noted that she targets younger girls because of research that she said shows that girls who don’t get engaged in STEM subjects by late elementary school to early middle school tend not to go into STEM-related careers.

“It’s just getting them excited and knowing there are so many avenues (to choose),” Kolo said.

She said engagement in STEM promotes interest in it, and that’s why she feels it is important to have events like this for young girls.

“STEM is not something you can just talk about,” Kolo said. “You have to be engaged in it to get a deeper understanding.”

For the past two years, Kolo said the event has had about 30 girls attend. Her hope is to get somewhere between 30 to 50 girls to attend, “but we’re not going to turn anybody away.”

Anyone wanting to register for the event should call 678-230-7484 by Wednesday.

Kolo would like to see the event grow and gain partnerships with local engineering and science organizations, as well as the school district.

“The hope is to grow it and to get more involvement from outside organizations as well,” Kolo said.