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SAGE STEAM Camp team

SWOSU SAGE STEAM Camp Receives National STEM Award

Photo Caption: Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s SAGE STEAM Camp for eighth grade girls in Weatherford has received the 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Members of the 2018 SAGE STEAM team are (from left) Dr. Lisa Appeddu, Cindi Albrightson, Dr. Regina McGrane, Adina Foust, Dr. Denise Landrum-Geyer, Dr. Lori Gwyn and Dr. Jorie Edwards. Not pictured are Elizabeth Amen, Erin Ridgeway, Kristin Flaming and Kathy O’Neal.

Southwestern Oklahoma State University’s SAGE STEAM Camp for eighth grade girls has received the 2018 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the largest and oldest diversity and inclusion publication in higher education.

The Southwest Alliance for Girls' Enrichment (SAGE) presented a new Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) camp in June of this year on the Weatherford campus. The camp was a reboot of Tech Trek at SWOSU, which was conducted from 2013 to 2017.  

The new SAGE STEAM Camp at SWOSU empowers girls from across Oklahoma to grow personally and professionally as they interact with STEAM mentors and experience hands-on workshops and field trips.   In the spring of their seventh grade year, 50 girls are chosen based on their interest in STEAM and on the potential impact that this camp may have, especially if they do not have access to STEAM opportunities. 

To reduce socioeconomic barriers, families pay only a $100 reservation fee for this week-long, residential camp, which actually costs $1.000 per camper. This is made possible by the generous support of Oklahoma businesses, STEM agencies, community partners and personal supporters.

The Inspiring Programs in STEM Award honors colleges and universities around the nation that encourage and assist students from underrepresented groups to enter the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

SWOSU is featured, along with 77 other recipients, in the September 2018 issue of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine.

Inspiring Programs in STEM Award winners were selected by INSIGHT Into Diversity based on efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research and successful programs/initiatives.

SWOSU College of Pharmacy Associate Professor and Camp Director Dr. Lisa Appeddu said the camp is truly a team effort.

“The SAGE STEAM team is comprised of a dedicated, hard-working group of faculty volunteers and college students from SWOSU plus K-12 teachers, faculty from the Western Technology and Canadian Valley Technology Centers, and former camper mothers,” Appeddu said.  “The camp does make a difference.  Besides exposing girls to potential careers and mentors in STEAM, 2018 camp feedback suggested that campers experienced increased confidence, an improved self-image, and made new friends.  Also, as a result of attending camp, they have an increased interest in science and math careers and are now more likely to take advanced technology-related classes.”

Appeddu said she is so glad the camp received this national recognition. It rewards the time and energy as selflessly given by the STEAM team to inspire any girl, regardless of her background, to make a better future for herself and for Oklahoma.

“We know that many STEM programs are not always recognized for their success, dedication and mentorship for underrepresented students,” said Lenore Pearlstein, owner and publisher of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. “We want to honor the schools and organizations that have created programs that inspire and encourage young people who may currently be in or are interested in a future career in STEM. We are proud to honor these programs as role models to other institutions of higher education and beyond.”

The second year of the SAGE STEAM Camp at SWOSU will be conducted in June 2019 with teacher nominations being solicited in January 2019.  Contact and visit the website ( for more information.