December 8, 2023

California Baptist University has many fascinating clubs for its students to meet with people of similar interests to help each other through their education. One of these clubs is the STEM Girls club, an organization that welcomes all students interested in the connected fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, whose main goal is to promote women in these fields.

James Buchholz, professor of mathematics and physics and adviser for the STEM girls club, talked about how he had the idea for this club for CBU.

“The idea for the club came because I was walking on another college campus, and in the distance I saw a poster that said ‘Join STEM Girls,’” Buchholz said. “So I didn’t originate that name. But I thought, ‘Huh, what would that look like at Cal Baptist?’ I didn’t want to know all that they were doing. I wanted us to make our own.” 

Buchholz said he asked one of his teaching assistants what she thought of the idea of this club.

“I said to her, ‘Would you be interested in a club like that? And what would that mean? Well we know STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Would you want that?’” Buchholz said. 

Buchholz said he was not sure about having “Girls” in the name instead of women, but liked the title, so they made “Girls” an acronym that stands for “Gifted Individuals in Research and Laboratory Sciences.”

Sarah Fitch, senior biomedical sciences major and president of the STEM Girls club, talked about the focus of this club.

“Our club likes to focus on creating community between people within the STEM majors,” Fitch said. “We also like to target women because women in STEM is a smaller section. A lot of times, it’s harder for women to feel included or connected in those sorts of careers, so we want to make sure we create a community within that, but we’re not exclusive. We allow anyone to be in our club and so we do fun events.”

One such event they have takes place at the women’s basketball games. Buchholz talked about the STEM Girls’ halftime challenge. Buchholz said an important part of this is activity is women supporting women.

“This is the women of the STEM girls supporting the women’s basketball team. We sponsored this halftime challenge for a chance to win $10,000. The games are always Thursday at six or Saturday at one, the doors open an hour early and so we come in an hour and 50 minutes early to set up the table so people can come in and then they register.” 

Buchholz explained the rules of this challenge and what qualifies or disqualifies someone from participating.

“To participate in the STEM Girls halftime challenge, you have to be at least 14 years old,” Buchholz said. “You can’t be a professional basketball player, you can’t be a collegiate basketball player, any level, even junior college, but you are allowed to be a high school basketball player. We got the contract with the insurance company. What we did was we paid an insurance company. They’re betting no one gets it.”

Buchholz also explained what someone has to do to win the $10,000.

“We have nine games, all home games,” Buchholz said. “We’re going to do this every game until someone wins. You have 25 seconds to hit a layup, hit a free throw, hit a three-pointer and the half-court shot.”

Miranda Martinez, senior biomedical science major and vice president of the STEM Girls club, talked about some of the other events they have planned for this semester. Their first event is their “Gal-entine’s Day” picnic Feb. 10. 

“We will have a little picnic in the front lawn, to get to know people that are in the club and just have little snacks on the front field, just a little community bonding time,” Martinez said.

The next events are their Assassin game on March 24 and their hamster ball game.

“That will be with the other clubs, the soccer club and the pre-optometry club,” Martinez said. “And the next one will be April 19, which is going to be our coffee and study. We’re planning on maybe having one or two more but those are  set.”

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