The Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO) has kicked off its 2024 STEMgirls Summer Camp, aiming to inspire and educate young girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The camp, which began on June 24, 2024, at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Preparatory High School in Waukegan, IL, will host 127 girls from 3rd to 8th grade over five days.

This year’s camp theme, “Systems Safari,” focuses on human health through engineering. Participants will explore various bodily systems, including:

  1. Brain and nervous system, with a focus on neural networks and AI
  2. Heart and circulation, emphasizing cardiac function and heart valve engineering
  3. Digestion and excretion, relating to diabetes and kidney function
  4. Musculoskeletal system, exploring robotics and artificial limbs

The camp’s unique approach combines real-world problem-solving with industry expertise and career connections. Over 40 STEM professionals from the local community will volunteer their time to educate and inspire the young participants.

Ann Vogel, iBIO Senior Vice President, highlighted the camp’s distinctive features: “Our campers won’t just learn about human health, they will be challenged to engineer solutions. And they get to do all this while working alongside industry volunteers who provide encouragement and share their STEM career paths and experiences.”

The camp will conclude on June 28 with a Family Day and STEM Careers Event. Families are invited to learn about STEM careers from Abbott panelists and interact with local employers and organizations in the exhibit hall.

Abbott serves as the lead sponsor for the 2024 STEMgirls Summer Camp. Their support enables each camper to receive an iBIO STEM Kit for exploring electrical circuits and creating flashlights at home. John Frels, vice president of research and development in Abbott’s core diagnostics business, expressed the company’s commitment to empowering young women in STEM:

“We are proud to partner with iBIO again to empower the next generation of women in STEM through the annual STEMgirls Summer Camp,” said Frels. “The program takes complex science topics and turns them into fun, hands-on activities that spark curiosity and learning. We hope that these experiences inspire young girls to explore a future career in STEM.”

Other sponsors include Amgen and the Steans Family Foundation, demonstrating the strong community support for STEM education initiatives.

For those interested in following the camp’s activities, iBIO will share photos and videos on their social media accounts @IllinoisBiotech and @iBIOSTEM after the camp concludes.

This initiative by iBIO exemplifies the ongoing efforts to encourage girls to pursue STEM fields, addressing the gender gap in these crucial sectors and nurturing the next generation of innovators.


This article was originally published on iBIO NewsBrief. Gain a head start on your day with iBIO NewsBrief. Subscribe to receive top industry headlines delivered straight to your inbox.