JMU event aims to raise STEM interest in women

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Students at James Madison University aimed to increase women's interest in science, technology, engineering and math on Monday night.

Smith said JMU classes at the X-Lab often have more men than women.

The JMU X-Lab hosted "Fab Lab," an all-girls event, featuring STEM activities. Students could fly drones, create a slime mixture and use virtual reality to paint.

Hannah Smith, a student at JMU, has taken classes at the X-Lab and spoke at the event. Smith said the event's organizers were only expecting around 30 students to attend the event, but she was pleasantly surprised when 250 young women registered.

"There's definitely a growing number of women who are interested in STEM fields," Smith said. "I think that there definitely is kind of a stigma around it, that it's meant for only males."

Smith has worked with one of her professors in implementing STEM activities in local elementary schools. She said there are ways to pique your child's interest in STEM.

"Interactive and active learning that you want the students to have," Smith said. "It's not just something that you want to tell them the information because at that age they're not really interested in memorizing information."

The X-Lab is open to all JMU students, regardless of major.