Stary named new director of STEPS for Girls program
February 3, 2014
Wendy Stary, assistant professor in engineering and technology,
is the new director of STEPS for Girls — Science, Technology and Engineering
Preview Summer program for Girls at UW-Stout.
The five-day program, which began in 1997, is for girls
entering seventh grade. They attend labs and classes, live in residence halls
and use university dining and other facilities.
Stary replaces Glendali Rodriguez, who has begun a new
position at UW-Stout as associate vice chancellor for Academic and Student
Stary isn't planning any major STEPS changes in the near
"I think the fact that the STEPS for Girls program is in its
18th year says a lot about the overall quality of the program. What I do hope
to have an impact on is the economic viability and sustainability of the
program with the ultimate goal of being able to maintain a competitive tuition
and limited full scholarships, to assure a diversity of participants," she
For continued success of the program, she points to the
contributions of the many people who are passionate and committed to its mission,
including sponsors, the university, community and graduates.
"I love that the girls are given a multitude of
opportunities to build confidence and realize that they are capable of so much
more than they might ever have dreamed possible, with constant reinforcement
that it's OK to be cute and
smart!" she said.
Stary, who grew up on a small Wisconsin dairy farm in
Augusta, earned a bachelor's degree in manufacturing engineering from UW-Stout
in 2001. After working in the plastics industry, she returned and earned her
master's in manufacturing engineering in 2008 and joined the faculty.
She became acquainted with the STEPS program in the summer
of 1998, when she worked as a student lab assistant.
Her roles with STEPS have included serving as the "Lego geek
and mentor to girls attending the advanced STEPS" and since 2008 teaching
plastics at STEPS, she said.
The program is held four times during the summer with
approximately 40 girls in each five-day camp. STEPS graduates are hired for all
program leadership roles, including high school junior counselors, lab
assistants and college level counselors. In 2013 more than 60 applications were
received for each of the high school positions.
STEPS is accepting applications for 2014 summer participants,
counselors and lab assistants. For more information go to the website or contact