Written by Amanda Roberts M.A., Michael Frye, PhD
The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) miniGEMS STEAM and Programming Camp is a free Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program that provides valuable insight and direction to middle school girls from underserved and underrepresented communities of San Antonio, Texas. The program provides a learning environment that inspires the girls to gain an interest in STEM fields. miniGEMS was developed and directed by Associate Professor of Engineering at UIW, Dr. Michael Frye, Tomas Goldaracena, B.S., and Angela Meyer, M.S. Over two-weeks, students will participate in hands-on lab experiments, team building activities, science experiments, and computer programing which are instructed by UIW miniGEMS staff, UIW professors, and science researchers. I anticipate in advancing the mission of miniGEMS for months to come.
As a UIW alumnus, I was honored to be a Keynote Speaker for June and July 2018 UIW miniGEMS cohorts. I had the rewarding opportunity to share my experience as a PhD Graduate Research Assistant at the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences . In Dr. Colleen McDowell’s laboratory, who is an Assistant Professor at the North Texas Eye Research Institute, I am studying the molecular mechanisms responsible for glaucomatous trabecular meshwork damage and elevated intraocular pressure in the eye.
My passion to educate and mentor minorities into becoming the next STEM field leaders will help decrease social barriers, and increase normative behaviors in welcoming a diverse and represented research community. As an African-American female scientist pursuing my dream career of conducting biomedical research, I hope to inspire initiatives to promote the inclusion of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM fields. I plan to continue to educate and mentor minorities to pursue their passions that will lead to developing new and effective treatments for our society. If you have similar passions, please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.