Nicor Gas supports STEM, welding summer camp for girls

For the last 10 years, Triton College has hosted Camp GADgET (Girls Adventuring in Design, Engineering and Technology) in July. The program introduces 10-14 year-old girls to engineering technology, educational concepts and hands-on skills used in STEM-related industries.

Nicor Gas has long been a supporter of GADgET through corporate sponsorships and in-person presentations. In 2019, Triton College launched a second program, Camp GLoW (Girls Learning to Weld), which guides 12-16 year-old girls through hands-on welding projects. According to the camp's founder, Antigone Sharris, empowerment is the underlying goal of both programs. During each camp, girls have the chance to meet and speak with women leaders in traditionally male-dominated STEM industries. The interactions introduce the girls to real-life role models and how to work towards goals in any industry they choose.

As in years past, Nicor Gas' employee resource group Inspire and Women In Construction stepped up to present at Camp GLoW and Camp GADgET. First, Elaine Zybko, arc welder, Northwest Delivery for the company, came to speak with the girls at Camp GLoW, sharing her journey as a female welder working in the field. Elaine answered questions from the girls and discussed her career experiences such as what her career growth track has looked like, what types of welds she typically works on in the field, what types of training were required for her to become a welder. Elaine even brought her equipment and PPE so the girls could get a hands-on feel for what she does every day.

The visits couldn't have happened if it weren't for the dedication and commitment of the leadership in Nicor Gas' Women in Construction.

"Triton College is doing great work facilitating these camps for young girls. The hands-on experience and exposure they are getting to science, engineering and technical trades is invaluable," said Darlene Rucker, supervisor, Construction Operations and co-chair of Inspire's Women in Construction. "I felt truly inspired by their hard work and ingenuity and we look forward to working with them in the future."

Stacy Paller, supervisor, Field Operations and co-chair of Nicor Gas' Inspire's Women in Construction, who has participated in the camp visit for several years and has become a camp expert, also shared her thoughts, "GADgET and GLoW camps are an excellent opportunity to expose young girls to various jobs in the gas industry. I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction and excitement from the campers."

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