Dearborn pairs sports and tech to keep young women dreaming big about STEM

By | August 2, 2019
golf ball next to hole on putting green
(Mimi Cummins/Flickr/Creative Commons)

The City of Westland and UM-Dearborn’s College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) have joined forces to create an innovative way to target STEM’s gender gap. “Studies have shown that the middle to high school transition is when some young women start shifting away from things like engineering and computer science,” says Jeanne Girard, director of Extended Learning and Outreach at UM-Dearborn.

Girard and her team set out to design a program that could help sustain young women’s interest in STEM subjects through this critical time. One idea that stuck: A two-week day camp that combines building mobile apps with playing golf.

Professional golfer and former U-M Dearborn golf coach Kelly Kuhlman, who’s helping with the golf instruction, says golf and app development aren’t as strange a match as they may appear. She says technology and analytics are playing a bigger role in the sport all the time. And with constant mental analysis of distances, trajectories, and angles of approach, there’s a ton of computational problem solving that’s baked into the game.