Mary Anne Onianwah has always been interested in how people connect, it could be why she enrolled in North Point High School’s Cisco Networking Academy Career and Technical Education (CTE) program.
“My parents come from a third world country and I see how technology connects people around the world,” said Onianwah, a senior who would like to study information science or human-computer interaction in college.
At one time she wanted to major in medical information technology, but over the years, Onianwah has found herself drawn to the “why.” Why do people use technology the way they do? Continued questioning is a component of STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — education and careers. Girl Powered, a robotics and programming workshop designed to engage young girls in STEM activities was held Jan. 4 at North Point with Onianwah and other high school students leading stations and tasks for girls in elementary school.
“There’s not a lot of us in those fields — girls in STEM,” Onianwah said. “Even now, you ask girls ‘What does a scientist look like?’ They’ll say, ‘A man.’ But 10, 20 years from now, they are the face of STEM.”
High school students showed the younger girls how to make their own lava lamps, challenged them to build a steady structure using only spaghetti noodles and marshmallows, and let them operate a robot through an obstacle course.
Brooklyn Cannon, a fourth-grade student at C. Paul Barnhart Elementary School, said she is interested in STEM and that it might lead to a career. “I could get a future job where I can help people,” she said.
Like Cannon, Isabella McRae, a William A. Diggs Elementary School fifth grader, is looking beyond the here and now. “I like coding, robotics,” she said. “I want to see how we can change the future.”
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,1521 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.