The STEPS for Girls program is designed to achieve an appropriate balance between technical, developmental and recreational activities and to conform as closely as possible to UW-Stout’s “hands-on, minds-on” approach to learning. A broad variety of technical sessions ranging in duration from one to two hours are presented each day through a combination of classroom and hands-on laboratory activities. The participants learn about the concepts of science and engineering by doing experiments and building their own product. Instructors have developed activities that are not only instructive and interesting, but also fun. Many female role models are presented to the campers as instructors, lab assistants and program administrative staff.

The campers are given an experience as close to college life as can be provided. They live together in a dormitory, eat meals together in a dining hall, attend classes in college classrooms and labs and are taught by college professors. They are organized into four teams of ten, each team identified by a distinctively colored T-shirt (red, blue, yellow, and green).

Technical Activities

Technical activities are focused on production of an autonomous, obstacle avoiding robot. Each camper builds her own robot and takes it home with her. Subcomponents for the robot are fabricated in several of the technical activities and are brought together for final assembly in a simulated manufacturing cell. The subcomponents are created as follows:


  • Foundry - casting aluminum rear skid
  • Plastics - thermoforming robot shell and injection molding tires
  • Electronics - soldering electrical wiring harness
  • Packaging - assembling the robot product enclosure
  • Automation - custom name engraving of motor bracket

In addition to these core manufacturing activities, the following technical activities focus on additional science, technology and engineering topics.

  • CAD - robot drawings, 3-D models, renderings and animations
  • Robotics - industrial and mobile robots, coordinate systems and navigation
  • Multimedia Design - web design and video production
  • Graphic Arts - graphic layout, silk screen printing, production printing

Finally, the technical activities are rounded out with core science and math activities, all of which take a hands-on approach to learning.

  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Mathematics

A detailed set of schedules for a typical week can be obtained upon request.

To see a snapshot of the camp activities, please visit the web page gallery link on this site. These web pages provide an interesting view of the excitement experienced during the week in many of the technical, developmental and recreational activities. As you can see in the gallery, these activities truly do follow the UW-Stout "hands-on, minds-on" approach and provide the participants with many take-home mementos of their camp experience.

Developmental and Recreational Activities

Several purely recreational or developmental activities are interspersed with the technical activities throughout the week. The girls have a picnic, swim in the community pool at Wakanda Park, bowl at Broadway Bowl, tour two area-manufacturing companies, participate in a “Ropes” leadership/problem solving/teamwork developing activity and have a pizza and karaoke party.

Contact Information

STEPS Office
(715) 232-5510 

Mailing Address
UW-Stout STEPS for Girls Program
228D Jarvis Hall Technology Wing
Menomonie, WI 54751 

STEPS Program Director
Jo Hopp, PhD
Professor, Physics
(715) 232-2139 

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