Summer of Science: BAAM Girls Program Builds Future Scientists

By Sheryll Poe 

Dr. Joan Richtsmeier gives a lesson to the girls at the BAAM Girls Program.

What’s more fun than summer camp? Learning about anatomy and science, of course. 

Building African American Minds (BAAM), a Maryland organization founded in 2003 to address the low number of African American males graduating from Easton High School and moving on to higher education, recently expanded its mission to include girls.  

The eight first-grade girls who attended the inaugural BAAM Girls Program this summer are getting a hands-on view of how fun and interesting science can be by interacting with a real anthropologist, Dr. Joan Richtsmeier, a distinguished professor at Pennsylvania State University.

During “Afternoons with Dr. Joan,” the girls examine and explore the human and animal skeletons. “The opportunity I saw here was to give these girls a taste of what science is at a very young level so that they are comfortable with science and comfortable with asking questions about science and to open their eyes to possibilities at a very young age,” said Richtsmeier. 

“I didn't know what anthropology was until I was in college and I was afraid of science and math until I had some really good teachers,” Richtsmeier mused. “I want these girls to not be afraid and to find their passion early, whether it be in STEMM or in the arts.” 

The free, six-week summer camp, which is being held at the BAAM Athletic Center in Easton, Maryland, ends August 13.