Grand Forks mothers, daughters learn about STEM

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Elora J. Martinez
  • 319th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Teams of mothers and daughters flowed into an upstairs room of the Grand Forks Public Library on a Saturday morning, January 26, 2019. The women and girls seated themselves in anticipation of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics workshop they came for, hosted by the base Airman and Family Readiness Center.

The mother-daughter STEM workshop was led by local volunteers with the University of North Dakota Society of Women Engineers who served as role models to show attendees STEM careers are for girls and boys.

The workshop is one of several the A&FRC has hosted within the last year, according to Kelly Painter, support coordinator with the Exceptional Family Member Program, 319th Force Support Squadron.

“We have such a great opportunity to highlight STEM on base,” Painter said. “Our outreach has exploded, and attendance is growing at every event we do.”

Painter continued to explain how Grand Forks Air Force Base’s STEM programs reach beyond its own community: “We received nearly $30,000 in grants to create STEM kits in partnership with public libraries across the state of North Dakota,” she stated. “Statewide there have been more than 1,200 kits checked out, each of which is unique and offers different STEM experiments for children to learn with.”

The group of 15 mothers and daughters participated in a variety of engineering experiments led by the SWE volunteers, to include creating electrical circuit boards, building structures with plastic cups and formulating bath melts using at-home ingredients.

The children, aging from six to 12 years old, buzzed with focus and excitement throughout each experiment, eager to accomplish each step with a hands-on approach.

“STEM can be as simple as you make it,” Painter explained. “People can seek out local opportunities to see what their children are interested in, whether at home or in the community.”

Participants expressed their excitement in the event, and picked a favorite experiment.

“It’s important to see role models like the women here in order to expand ideas of what [my daughter] can do,” Chelsea Larson said, after her daughter, Bryn, explained her favorite experiment was creating bath melts.

The A&FRC on base has several events annually similar to the STEM workshop, and is always looking for ways to get families involved in the community. For more information about future events and opportunities, head to or call the A&FRC at 701-747-3241.