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GCU & Girls in Science and Technology

Georgian Court University GIST students

Girls Interested in Science and Technology Have Fun With Science

Building a gum drop bridge, playing the flute, making lip balm—these were just a few of the fun activities designed to inspire young girls to envision careers in science, technology and math as part of Georgian Court University’s Girls Involved in Science & Technology (GIST) Program.

See photos from GIST

Each summer, middle school and high school students from Lakewood Township come to the GCU campus to participate in the one-week GIST program, taught by GCU faculty, staff, and graduate assistants in the math and science departments. The students examine the parts of the brain, the speed of sound with thunder and music, fat content of snacks, habits of the heart, aeronautics, forensic science, blood cells, and bones.

“The GIST Program is all about making learning fun,” said Program Director Sarita Nemani, Ph.D., chair of GCU’s Department of Mathematics. “GIST provides a unique and exciting way to make science, math, and technology interesting to girls at a young age. We are expanding possibilities for these young female students. GIST helps to inspire them to study the STEM fields in college and understand they have opportunities for successful careers in STEM.”

The courses and hands-on learning activities focus on a variety of subjects including biology, forensic science, computers, chemistry, statistics, osmosis, physics, math, and astronomy. Importantly, the program included a college preparation session for the high school students. GIST was created by GCU faculty in 2004 to excite the interest of girls in the STEM fields and provide female role models for the students.

The GIST students described the program as “a blast,” “very educational,” and “truly amazing.” Many of the students said the GIST program inspired them to attend college and several indicated the program inspired them to consider majoring in a science or math field.

Donors in recent years have included the TD Charitable Foundation and the Provident Bank Foundation, among others.

Updated July 2018.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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