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The new generation: Exploration Station in Grover Beach offers Science 4 Girls Camp 

click to enlarge SHE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE:  Ajhri Kehler gets her learning on at the Exploration Station in Grover Beach. - PHOTOS BY TOSHA PUNCHES
  • SHE BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE: Ajhri Kehler gets her learning on at the Exploration Station in Grover Beach.

Everyone knows that boys are made of slime, and snails, and puppy dog tails, and girls are made up of sugar, and spice, and everything nice. While boys are encouraged to explore and create, girls are encouraged to be passive, pretty little dolls.

But this summer, the Exploration Station in Grover Beach will be offering young girls the chance to learn about all things science. From Aug. 4 to 8, the station will hold a Science 4 Girls Camp, where girls can explore the different fields of STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The campers will get a chance to work with a different mentor each day and create various projects. The mentors are all women who hold careers in the fields of biology, chemistry, materials engineering, technology, and horticulture.

“The girls get two hours with each mentor,” said Tosha Punches, the program director at the Exploration Station. “And they participate in creating a hands-on project. They get to build and experience different phenomenons hands-on, so they get to play and learn at the same time. Everything is very interactive because that’s the best way to learn about STEM.”

Lauren Madonna and her daughter have already signed up for the camp. Madonna studies horticulture at Cal Poly, and will be participating as one of the mentors for the campers.

“We’re going to learn about plants and their different responses,” said Madonna. “So, they’ll learn about the venus fly trap and recreate it with simple machines. Also, we’re going to learn about sunflowers, and their phototropic responses, the way they move throughout the day to follow the sun.”

The idea of holding a science camp specifically for girls came when Punches and her colleagues noticed the gender disparity from the attendance of their other summer camps, particularly with their Lego NXT Summer Robotics Camp. Punches said that in the past three years since they started the camp, only four girls signed up.

“We want to give women and girls the opportunities that boys are naturally given toward STEM,” said Punches. “We want to grab the interest of girls now so that they can see actual women doing actual stuff in the STEM field. We aren’t trying to alienate any boys. This is specifically about encouraging girls to be interested and learn about STEMs.”

Punches said that disparity of men and women in science-related fields starts from a very young age. She wants to get girls involved now, while they are still interested and curious, on a level that was never available when she was a child.

“I think that things are changing,” said Punches. “But very slowly. You can still see a bunch of toys like Legos, where the toys for girls are still predominantly pink or girly, which is completely unnecessary.”

The camp costs $50, although if you are already a member at the station, you get a 15 percent discount. There’s also a chance for a child to receive a scholarship discount as well. However, according to Punches, prices are negotiable.

“We don’t want money to be one of the thing that stops a girl from pursuing her interest in science” said Punches. “We’re really not in this for the money. We’re here to help kids and teach them about science.”

For more information about the camp, go to, or contact them at Space is limited.

Fast Fact

Tranz Central Coast (TCC) will be hosting a free seminar at the San Luis Obispo County Library about transgender surgical options. The forum will be held in the conference room on Saturday, July 19 from 2:45 to 8:45 p.m. There will be California Board Certified physicians available to discuss the process and procedures of transgender transitions, including gender reassignment and plastic surgeries, pre- and post-op care, and hormone therapy. For information about Tranz Central Coast, visit For information about the medical forum, contact Jessica Lynn, the presentation organizer at 904-5022 or at


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