100 campers from the Waukegan area connect with industry volunteers for fun, educational programs

The Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO), dedicated to inspiring the next generation of innovators and helping restore America’s leadership in technology education, today launched its 2022 STEMgirls Summer Camp at Cristo Rey St. Martin College Preparatory High School at 3106 Belvidere Rd, Waukegan, IL 

Over the next five days, nearly 100 rising 3rd to 8th grade girls will explore a wide variety of areas related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). This year’s exploration centers around the habitation of a new planet by humans.  In order for humans to be able to live in this new space, they will need to find ways to meet requirements for survival. Topics include soil chemistry and discovering existing life, engineering challenges involved in securing and transporting water for the new planet, using remote sensing to map the landscape of the planet and building a paper model of “living” and “research” spaces, and generating electricity from wind. Field trips include visits to the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and the Garoon Gateway to Science Park in Lake Zurich, IL.  As always, iBIO is emphasizing career opportunities for the girls that will be entering the workforce in the next five to ten years. Over 25 STEM professionals from the local STEM community will volunteer for the event, which is intended to educate and inspire students and their families.

“We are incredibly grateful to our donors who provide the funding and the industry expertise that brings real-world connections to our camps that really sets it apart from other summer activities, ” said iBIO Senior Vice President Ann Vogel. “We are also thrilled to be back in-person this summer! Providing the opportunity for girls to learn together and from one another, while experimenting and using the engineering design cycle to creatively solve problems, is a key part of our camp.”

On Friday, June 24, iBIO welcomes camper families to join them for a Family Day and STEM Careers Event. Families will enjoy learning about exciting careers in STEM from Abbott panelists, visiting with other local employers and community organizations focused on STEM at the exhibit hall, and working together with their campers to build a simple model hovercraft such as the ones used for weather monitoring. Family Day is 11AM to 2PM. Lunch will be provided. Registration is required and all participants must be vaccinated. 

Without sponsors, iBIO’s STEMgirls Summer Camp would be impossible.

Every iBIO program and activity is made possible through the generous donations of individuals, foundations, and corporations. Abbott is the lead sponsor for the 2022 STEMgirls Summer Camp. With Abbott’s support, all STEMgirls campers will take home an iBIO STEM Kit to explore Anemometry with their families. The hands-on STEM Kit provides materials, written instructions in English and Spanish, links to an instructional video and profiles of women working in STEM.

“To inspire the next generation of innovators, it’s important to provide children with hands-on STEM experiences when they’re young so they’re encouraged to pursue related education and careers later in life,” said John Frels, vice president of core diagnostics research and development for Abbott. “Abbott is proud to partner with iBIO and STEMgirls for their annual camp to help energize and motivate future STEM leaders.”

Other Chicago-area healthcare companies that provided financial support for the camp include Horizon and the Steans Family Foundation.

After this year’s camp ends on June 24th, iBIO will post photos and videos highlighting many of this year’s activities on social media: @IllinoisBiotech, @iBIOSTEM.