E-Mentoring Program Introduces High School Girls to STEM Learning, Options

Friday, March 11, 2022
Dr. Carlotta Berry speaks to a group of students at Rose-Hulman.

Visiting ninth-grade girls met with their EMERGE student mentors along with professors and pre-college outreach staff to learn how to match their personal interests with different STEM career fields.

A group of 9th grade girls from Vigo County School Corporation’s West Vigo High School stepped away from their normal biology, algebra and home economics classes to spend a school day at Rose-Hulman learning how to create electronic device models and exploring their future educational horizons.

It was all part of an EMERGE e-mentoring program – supported by a Ball Venture Fund grant – that has women students from the nation’s distinguished science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) college making young girls aware of STEM career awareness, higher education options, and academic achievement advise.

A March 10th campus visit had a dozen West Vigo students sitting alongside Rose-Hulman students in an electronic device modeling course, taught by electrical and computer engineering professor Tina Hudson, PhD. They also discovered opportunities for women in STEM from Lawrence J. Giacoletto Endowed Chair and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Carlotta Berry, PhD; learned about the college recruitment process and summer STEM education programs; and toured the Rose-Hulman campus.

And they got to personally meet the four EMERGE program mentors that they may have only previously exchanged social media messages and conducted virtual chat sessions. 

This year’s mentors, all Rose-Hulman juniors, are Becca Depasse, a chemistry student; Emily Padgett, an electrical engineering student; and Chloe Koutsoumpas and Breanna Rogers, both biomedical engineering majors.

“We’re hoping these girls share our excitement in studying engineering or science because we really need them in STEM areas,” said Rogers, a graduate of Vigo County’s Terre Haute South High School. “It is great to finally get to see them in person after having brief online meetings during this year.” 

The EMERGE project is organized by Portal Resource for Indiana Science and Mathematics (PRISM) program  (www.rose-prism.org), a nationally recognized learning hub hosted by Rose-Hulman. The program provides digital resources and professional development opportunities for Indiana STEM teachers.