Calera woman uses Beauty and Brains Club to inspire girls

Girls at the Beauty and Brains Girls STEM Club summer camp experimented with Coke bottles one day at the camp. (Contributed)

Girls at the Beauty and Brains Girls STEM Club summer camp experimented with Coke bottles one day at the camp. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer 

CALERA— Kindergarten through eighth grade girls creatively explored design, science, math and engineering July 20-24 at the first Beauty and Brains Girls STEM Club summer camp.

Calera resident and Birmingham-based elementary school teacher Laneaka Turner­-Miller came up with the idea for Beauty and Brains from her own daughter.  She noticed how much her 9-year-old showed an interest in creating her own experiments and toys.

“Her eyes would literally light up whenever I mentioned a new activity for the camp,” Turner-Miller said.  “Everyday she was coming to me with ideas for experiments and projects she thought her fellow campers would want to work on.”

The weeklong day camp was based on the academic principle STEM or science, technology, engineering and math. Girls participated in related activities through workshops and projects in the camp. Turner-Miller held the camp at Calera First United Methodist Church and took the students to the McWane Science Center on Friday to end the program.

Course themes for the week included Kitchen Kemistry, Toy Design, Build Our Town, Spa Science and Design It Yourself Day. The campers made Smores Solar Ovens, engineered marshmallow catapults, constructed a small-scale replica of Calera and made their own lip-gloss and bath salts.

“The overall goal of the program is to increase girls interest, understanding and participation in STEM related activities and careers,” Turner-Miller said.

The Beauty and Brains Girls STEM Club doesn’t stop at summer camp. The program will continue to grow through an after school program offered through Shelby County Schools Community Education Program.

Parents can register their girls for the once a week after school program for $55 a month. Turner-Miller said each month will have a different focus like the summer camp’s themes Kitchen Kemistry, Toy Design or Spa Science.

The program is set to launch at Calera Intermediate School, Helena Elementary School, Helena Intermediate School and Inverness Elementary School. Tuner-Miller said it will focus on the third to fifth grade students. She also hopes to have several Saturday STEM workshops throughout the upcoming school year.

For more information or to register, email Beautyandbrainsgirlsclub@gmail.com.