Middle school participate in last year’s GEST event. Photos courtesy of Duke University.

To read about this year’s Ocracoke School’s STEAM Fair, click here

All 17 Ocracoke middle school girls plan on heading to the Duke University Marine Laboratory in Beaufort April 13 to participate in the program Girls Exploring Science and Technology (GEST).

Now in its third year, GEST is a collaborative event to expose middle school girls to STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) resources, role models and activities in Eastern North Carolina. The program has grown every year and about 200 students are expected to attend.

According to Sarah Loftus, the event coordinator, last year Ocracoke was one of about 30 schools that sent students, mostly from Carteret County and Eastern North Carolina counties and also from the Raleigh area.

The students will rotate through about 12 activities with each activity representing a different STEM field. Some of the activities are Aquatic Animal Veterinary Care,  Exploring Robotics, Living Shorelines Exploration and Marine Debris Chain Reaction.

Support and volunteers for this event come from various Duke departments, including the Duke Marine Lab, Nicholas School of the Environment, Graduate and Professional Student Council, Biology Department, and Pratt School of Engineering.  Other volunteers will be from UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, NC State CMAST and NC Coastal Federation, NC Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Girl Scouts North Carolina Coastal Pines Council.

The day will conclude with a panel discussion led by female scientists and an instructional workshop about preparing for futures in STEM.

Ocracoke is also getting financial support for the overnight trip from the 21st Century program, coordinated by Nancy Leach.

Anyone wishing to help with a financial contribution should contact Mary McKnight, the Ocracoke School counselor and assistant administrator, 252-928-3251, ext 3204 following this week’s spring break.

GEST students participate in laboratory activities.
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