PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - They are young women learning about non-traditional career fields. A summer camp called Exploring the BEST spent the day Tuesday at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula.
"You know where the trigger is on it?" the instructor asked the student in the paint simulation lab.
"Yes," came the reply. "It looks funny," said the girl, after putting on the strange goggles that allowed her to "paint" a piece of equipment.
The paint simulator at Ingalls was a favorite in the hands-on activities for these summer campers.
BEST stands for Bold, Enthusiastic, Smart, and Talented. The idea of this STEM-based camp is to encourage these girls to consider non-traditional science or engineering career paths.
"By being here at Ingalls today, they're able to see women engineers and the various engineer fields. Mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, chemical engineering, and they get a hands-on approach to see what these ladies do in their everyday lives," said camp coordinator Sonya Ashley.
"And there you go. You insulated a 90. We'll pay you 20 something dollars an hour to do that," said an Ingalls instructor who taught the girls about pipe insulating.
The BEST camp is opening eyes and opportunities. Many of these young women may have never thought about a future in science or engineering. This unique camp highlights that possibility.
"I never really considered it, I guess, until I realized how many jobs there actually was that you can have. I didn't know there was so many fields of it. That's one thing I learned," said ninth grader Alyssa Foster.
"It's building up energy, and it's building up enough energy so it can make it around that curve and move real fast," April Martin explained, as she introduced the kids to a learning station where they would build a mini roller coaster.
Martin is an electrical engineer at Ingalls. She's happy to introduce a new generation of women into the STEM-related workforce of the future.
"When I got into it, there was hardly any young ladies in the electrical field, engineering field. So, we definitely want to give them perspective to help them choose a field like engineering," Martin said.
Along with Ingalls, the girls are also visiting Mississippi Power and Chemours this week.
The annual BEST summer camp is based in Pass Christian. It's open to girls ages 11 to 14.