GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — Making lip gloss is chemical engineering.
That alone made the 30 eighth-grade girls in the American Association of University Women Tech Trek 2015 camp at Stockton University a little more curious about science and engineering as a career.
“I’ve always loved chemistry,” said Anjola Fakolade, 13, of Mays Landing, as she built an underwater flashlight. “But I never knew how I could make a career with it.”
Next door, students from 15 area high schools experimented with the effect of different sugars on yeast at Stockton’s two-week Science Enrichment Academy.
“It gives them research experience,” said William Rosche, an assistant professor of biology at Stockton said. “This is a basic lab they might do in college.”
The Unified Science Center at Stockton is bustling this week with a new generation of potential future scientists. The two camps give students a chance to experiment with possible careers, and Stockton a chance to show off its new facilities to potential future students.
Students took field trips, and lived on campus, getting the full college experience.
“This is a lot different from high school,” said Jillian Man, 17, of Atlantic City. “The field trips were nice, and I feel more comfortable with science now.”
Jake Keil, 17, of Upper Township, liked seining on the Mullica River and sorting what they caught.
“We found everything from eels to seahorses and a stingray,” he said. “This week increased my interest in science, and definitely in Stockton.”
The American Association of University Women Tech Trek camp is part of a national effort by the organization to interest more girls in science, technology, engineering and math or STEM fields. The 30 girls in the program at Stockton were nominated by their schools and interviewed before being accepted.
Local attorney Michelle Douglass applied for a $10,000 AAUW grant to start the camp this year, the first in New Jersey. The AAUW Atlantic and Cape May chapters coordinated, with members serving as chaperones for the weeklong residential camp.
Stockton University partnered with the group, and some professors worked with local teachers Janel Schafer, Karen Schroeder and Sarah Platt to offer workshops that included creating an app, making lip gloss, doing water testing on Lake Fred and taking field trips to the FAA to see their flight simulator.
Claudine Keenan, Dean of the School of Education at Stockton, said the camp might expand to 60 students next year and recruit statewide.
“If we can get the funding together, I’m in,” she said.
Ana Kay Yaghoubian, AAUW’s national STEM manager visited the camp Thursday. She said the camp’s mission is to introduce STEM fields to girls in middle school.
“We want to introduce careers they’ve never heard of and give them confidence in their ability to prove themselves,” she said.