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Mini Medical School Drives Young Women Toward STEM

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa's Carver College of Medicine hosted a Mini Medical School on Saturday morning. Girls in grades 6-8 participated in a number of hands-on activities to give them an idea of what doctors, first responders, and researchers deal with on a daily basis.

One group was learning how to extract DNA from peas.

"We got to learn how to make the DNA come apart from all the peas, and then we had to like, blend it," explained 6th grader Jordyn Stammeyer.

For fellow 6th grader Katie Stoddard, stuff like this is what makes it fun to learn about science, technology, engineering and math.

"It's really cool how they're letting kids like us learn about science before we're in high school or college so we know if we want to do it or not," Stoddard said.

Event speaker and 4th-year medical student Rachelle Naridze said that's what it's all about, giving young girls something tangible to capture their interest.

"I didn't have the opportunity to do something like this when I was the ages of these girls, and I wish I had, because I think they really pique interests and show that science and math and technology and medicine can be really fun," said Naridze.

Naridze said events like this will help, but it's also on teachers and parents to encourage young women to get involved in STEM careers.

"They're fully capable of doing these things. We just need to give them the opportunities to see that it's possible," Naridze explained. "Yeah, it can be challenging, but I think it's exciting in many ways, and people don't get exposed to how much fun they can have with it."

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