Women In Engineering camp at Georgia Tech.

Experiments and exploring.

Testing limits and trying new things.

That’s how Georgia Tech’s TEC Camp is introducing the next generation to the magic of engineering and science. And from the looks of things, that future is increasingly female.

“I’ve never used a soldering iron before,” says 12-year old Jenabou Barry.

The Main Street Academy student is one of dozens of young women getting a glimpse of what her own future could look like.

“It makes me feel like I’m actually going to be an engineer when I grow up.” Barry is laser-focused, fixing wires to a circuit board. "We're building a robot that is hand-controlled." Her eyes light up when she's asked what it's for. "We're going to the pool they did the Olympics in, and we're going to race them."

Under the watchful eyes of an all-female counseling squad, these rising seventh and eighth graders are cutting PVC pipe and using power drills to make sure designs will be ready for the water.

Barry and her teammates take turns applying solder to their aquatic craft. “I think I’m getting the hang of it!” she says.

Her counselor, Sofia Eidizadeh, helps her use a desoldering pump to remove the excess solder from the soon-to-be swimming robot.

“This is such a critical age,” says Eidizadeh. “You’re just starting to figure out who you are.”

When Eidizadeh was 12 years old, she was in tears the night before she set to come to Georgia Tech for TEC Camp.

“I’m not good at science, I’m not good at math. It’s a boy thing,” she sobbed to her mother.

Incoming Georgia Tech first year student and TEC camp senior counselor Sofia Eidizadeh looks on as a group of campers takes on a soldering challenge to build an underwater robot.

Six years later and Eidizadeh has been back every year, worked her way up to become a counselor and is set to start her first year in industrial engineering this fall at Georgia Tech. Talk about a complete 360.

“The people in this Women in Engineering program became my role models. For the first time I could envision myself doing things like that.” she says.

Every day for a week, these middle schoolers traversed Georgia Tech’s campus, visiting classrooms and laboratories, hearing from women about STEM career possibilities, and getting behind-the-scenes access to high-profile projects and high-tech provisions many college students haven’t yet experienced.

"If it weren't for this camp I wouldn't be coming to Georgia Tech," says Eidizadeh.

After using a pipette to determine the perfect salinity needed to form large crystals on a piece of string dangling into water, eager TEC camper Barry thinks she’s found a future college major – and maybe even a career path.

“Chemical engineering,” she says with a nod. “I thought I would be more into computer engineering but chemical seems like I’d get use science and engineering equally.

Soon-to-be Yellow Jacket Eidizadeh says she’ll keep working as a counselor as she pursues her undergraduate degree.

"This camp had such an impact on me. It's an honor to get to do the same thing for other girls."

Seventh and eighth grade girls at Georgia Tech's TEC Camp in the Georgia Tech Invention Studio using equipment to assemble sirling engines and laser-engrave personalized name plates.

Jenabou and her team add the finishing touches to their underwater robot. She sets the soldering iron back in the rack with a tiny plume of smoke trailing behind.

"I'm learning to be confident and I'm learning that girls can do whatever they want," Barry says.

Yes they can.

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