2022 STEM Competition is “Shore” to Offer “Waves” of Fun

This year's “Oceans 911” theme for Foxcroft's all-girls STEM Challenge offers a “depth” of activities that are “shore” to challenge participants! Designed for middle and high school students, the competition on Saturday, February 19, will see girls from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, participate in challenges revolving around ocean conservation using their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math to take on issues like ocean acidification, microplastics pollution, ocean farming, and more.
“With this year’s theme we wanted to incorporate the environmentalist message of ocean wildlife conservation while also exposing students to content they may not already see in their STEM classes,” explains Kristine Varney, Director of STEM Education. “According to researchers, over 50% of students in ocean science programs in the United States are women but only about 20% of full professors in ocean science are women. We know girls have an interest in the field and we want to help give them the exposure and confidence to pursue it in the future.” 

Working in teams of three or four, the girls will rotate through challenges in biology, chemistry, physics, coding, and engineering. A winner will be declared for each challenge, as well as an overall winning team. In addition, students can answer trivia questions about ocean conservation to earn raffle tickets and compete for prizes ranging from gift cards to tech devices. Engineers from Stryker Corporation, a medical technology company in Leesburg, VA, that sponsors the event, will host one challenge while Foxcroft’s outstanding math and science faculty have created the others.

High school students are invited to a post-event career panel with female engineers from Stryker, where they will be able to ask questions and get a glimpse of the many things that engineers do. Middle school parents and visitors are invited to two informal roundtable sessions while their students compete. The first, featuring Foxcroft Head of School Cathy McGehee, will explore ways of supporting girls in STEM; the second will feature a panel of Stryker engineers sharing their career paths in STEM.

“As someone new to the event, I am excited to see all of our planning and hard work come to fruition,” offers Dr. Lindsay Anderson who joined the Foxcroft STEM department this year as a math and chemistry teacher. Dr. Anderson has a Ph.D. in Oceanography and a B.S. in Marine Science and Biology, so her expertise has been invaluable in bringing this topic to life for students.

The high school competition begins at 8:30am in Foxcroft’s Athletic/Student Center with visiting teams from several schools including Bullis School (Potomac, MD), Madeira School (McLean, VA), Wakefield School (The Plains, VA), and homeschool group Primae Res. Foxcroft will also field teams, one of which will be designated to represent the School in the overall competition. 

The middle school division in the afternoon is comprised of teams from Blue Ridge Middle (Purcellville, VA), Eldin School (Reston, VA), Grymes Memorial (Orange, VA), Harmony Middle (Hamilton, VA), Mercer Middle (Aldie, VA), Norwood School (Bethesda, MD), The Hill School (Middleburg, VA), Immanuel Christian (Springfield, VA), Village School (Charlottesville, VA), and Wakefield School’s middle division (The Plains, VA).
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.