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Beginning on Tuesday of this week, we kicked off Eureka! Camp with Girls Inc. Orange County. As the time for our first synchronous session approached, I found myself a little bit nervous but primarily excited, and thankful that the majority of our work for the next couple of weeks would allow us to interact with the girls face-to-face. Typically, the camp is designed such that morning synchronous sessions are for STEM, and afternoon synchronous sessions are for life skills, but on the first day of camp we used the first session as a check-in to re-introduce the girls to one another and the staff, complete some upbeat icebreakers, and explain a detailed plan for the different aspects of Eureka!, with special attention to the girls who are first-timers at camp. Subsequent sessions, though, have all been focused on content, with ciphers, cryptography, fitness, social engineering, stress management, sex ed and leadership providing the focus of various lessons so far.

On Wednesday morning, Olivia and I were scheduled to facilitate our lesson that we had developing about cybersecurity, our digital footprint, data privacy, and location services. Initially, I felt apprehensive about being the first interns to facilitate an entire STEM session, but watching Girls Inc. leaders Anna and LC facilitate the Tuesday introductory and life skills sessions was really valuable in absorbing techniques for keeping the girls engaged and comfortable. Overall, I felt like our session went well–I was really pleased with how many girls volunteered to speak up and ask questions both throughout the lesson and during our ELC reflection at the end, and I was pleasantly surprised that we were able to fit the section on browser cookies into our one-hour time limit. One thing I wish I had done differently was brainstorm a more natural way to call on the students when they had their hands raised (since I couldn’t see their names while simultaneously screensharing our presentation on Zoom), but I know I’ll be able to build on this experience and use tips and tricks like that going forward into our next week of camp.