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STEM camp to help girls in rural East Tennessee counties

A free summer camp for rising middle school girls who like science and technology is accepting applications.
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 3:09 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 26, 2021 at 5:47 PM EDT
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CROSSVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A free summer camp for rising middle school girls who like science and technology is accepting applications.

“It makes me very excited and grateful that I actually got to have this opportunity to go,” said Rebekah Backstrom, a former camper at the Roane State Community College Cumberland Campus STEM program.

It’s a free three-week-long program, thanks to the Verizon Innovative Learning Rural Young Women Program.

A few summers ago Rebekah and her sister Rachel “graduated” from STEM camp.

Rachel Backstrom said, “It was really cool.”

Haley Sexton told me it was kind of like school when she participated.

“But they made it more fun than school,” said Sexton.

“It helped me a lot learning more about entrepreneurship so I can start my own business one day,” said Rebekah Backstrom.

By the end of camp Rebekah was preparing a business plan for her bakery.

“It really opened a door for her to see it was not only a dream, but it was a possibility now,” said Amy Backstrom, Rebekah and Rachel’s mom.

Haley wants to be a veterinarian and now knows how 3-D printing can help make prosthetics for animals.

Sexton said, “It made me happy to be able to learn new things that will help later in life.”

“It was a really good learning experience. It opened the door for a lot of opportunities,” explained Amy Backstrom, “But I like it because it was a community element of these girls coming together, working together and you can’t replace that. That is something to me is phenomenal in itself.”

They also learned about coding, robotics, virtual reality and more.

“It really makes me aware of all the opportunities I have available to me,” said Rachel Backstrom.

The camp is for three weeks from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is available at RSCC’s Scott and Cumberland campuses.

Organizers are not sure if it will be in person, virtual or a hybrid this summer.

The camp is free, but can only accept 50 participants in each county.

To learn more information and sign up click here.

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