Tucked away in a workshop on Portland Community College’s Sylvania campus, 10 teenage girls weave in and out of gigantic machinery. For the past three weeks, they’ve been pulling levers, drilling holes into thick slabs of metal, and pulling bite-sized hammers out of large industrial ovens.
PCC has been offering the “Introduction to Manufacturing” class to high school students for the last seven years. Taught by instructor Alex Vins, the “camp” introduces teens to the world of machinery. By the end of the course, students are able to bring the skills they’ve learned back to their respective high school robotics programs.
Though the program managed to produce a decent turnout, instructors noticed a significant gender gap in the early years. In a class of about a dozen, only two or three participants were girls.
The all-girls course was born out of this concern two years ago.
To hear more about the camp from its instructor and a participant, take a listen to the audio postcard below that was created from the sounds and voices of the camp.