The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


The Student News Site of Xavier College Preparatory


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STEMpoweringHER; high school students help future generations discover STEM

Grace Thomas
STEMpoweringHER went to the Girls Leadership Academy of Arizona (GLAAZ) on April 5, 2024, to participate in an egg-drop experiment using engineering and physics. The students were split up into groups and given a range of materials, including balloons and sponges, to use in the design and construction of a device that would protect their delicate cargo—an egg—during a fall from a ten-foot stairway.

Grace Thomas ‘25 and Hannah Ruppert ‘25 noticed a lack of women’s leadership in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. In response, Thomas and Ruppert founded STEMpoweringHER with the intention of introducing STEM to young women across Arizona.

The two were inspired by the low statistics of women in STEM. Thomas said, “Only 5% of women hold leadership positions in STEM companies and 34% of jobs in STEM are held by women.”

The co-founders decided to begin their impact of womens’ influence on STEM in the beginning of 2024. Thus far, Thomas and Ruppert hosted their first event in April.

“Our first event was at Girls’ Leadership Academy of Arizona, and we did an egg-drop experiment that combined engineering and physics,” Thomas said.

At the events, STEMpoweringHER offers hands-on activities that involve the study of STEM. 

“We both want to pursue STEM fields in college. I want to pursue computer science and engineering and Hannah wants to pursue mathematics and economics. We make our activities similar to our own interests,” said Thomas. 

One of the main motives of the hands-on activities is to allow young women to experience creative freedom.

“Already this year, we have visited 370 children and we plan to connect with more schools throughout Arizona,” Ruppert said.

The co-founders have been continuously connecting with many schools around Arizona.

“We want girls to have a basic foundation of knowledge on STEM. We want to give them the option to choose if they want to pursue STEM,” said Thomas.

“We are looking for more volunteers in different grades. I have introduced STEMpoweringHER to students in college: freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors,” Thomas added.

STEMpoweringHER has cultivated some volunteers, one being Melina McKenzie ‘25

“I chose to dedicate my time to volunteering with STEMpoweringHER because I’m passionate about empowering and supporting women in STEM. We’re fortunate to have fantastic STEM opportunities, and I’m working with STEMpoweringHER to extend those opportunities to other girls. Encouraging women in STEM unleashes their unique perspectives and talents, enhancing innovation and problem-solving abilities,” McKenzie said.

“When women aren’t well-represented in STEM, we miss out on their valuable ideas and insights, which can delay progress and limit the ability to make important discoveries. As role models, women in STEM are able to inspire and motivate young girls and teens,” McKenzie added.

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