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2012.06.15 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@unomaha.edu

UNO Hosts Eureka Program for Young Women

Omaha - Twenty-eight young women are enjoying an educational experience that highlights the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) mixed in with a healthy dose of sports and personal development activities during a month-long program being held at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO.)

The program, titled “Eureka,” is funded by Girls Inc. The young women involved all will be eighth-grade students this fall and all have been involved with Girls Inc., previously. It runs during June.

“Eureka takes a ‘whole-girl’ approach,” said Carol Mitchel, a UNO faculty member in the College of Education and one of the program’s directors and co-principal investigators. Angie Hodge, a UNO Math Department faculty member from the College of Arts and Sciences, also serves as director and co-principal investigator. “We’re very excited about the STEM focus, but Eureka also stresses physical, cognitive and psychological and social development.”

The Eureka program (the full name is Eureka Teen Achievement program) was founded at Brooklyn College in 1987. The program, designed to help teen girls develop leadership and career skills, was targeted to girls of color living in the inner city, many of whom were economically disadvantaged.

Mitchell said this summer’s program is the first time Eureka has come to Nebraska. The young women at UNO will be working with a variety of hands-on science and math activities that include biology, physics, engineering, and robotics. UNO faculty, UNO students and guest speakers teach session and lead discussions. They also will tour a variety of UNO facilities, including the Peter Kiewit Institute, a biology research lab, Durham Science Center, and Criss Library. It’s a full day for everyone, Mitchell says. The day starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends after 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. Fridays have been set aside for field trips to the Strategic Air and Space Museum and the Henry Doorly Zoo.

The physical fitness component of Eureka takes place in UNO’s Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building. Every young woman receives swimming lessons, too.

“Eureka covers a great deal and it offers a great deal,” Mitchell said. “We’re expanding what’s possible for these young women.”

Research has shown that while girls are taking about as many math and science classes as boys, girls remain less likely to take advanced classes and all three of the core sciences (biology, chemistry and physics) particularly physics. Girls have also been less likely than boys to take the college board AP tests in math and sciences. Eureka aims to help change that disparity while also opening up career fields in STEM for young women.

For more information, call (402) 554-3502.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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