SAGE Camp connects underrepresented populations with STEM professionals

A group of SAGE Camp attendees pose with LLNL Director Kim Budil. (Download Image)

2023 SAGE camp attendees pose with LLNL staff serving as camp volunteers and Laboratory director Kim Budil.

Science Accelerating Girls’ Engagement (SAGE) aims to broaden gender diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields by fostering creativity and innovation for continued scientific and technological leadership. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory ((LLNL) joined five other Department of Energy laboratories (SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory) in hosting an annual summer camp to introduce local high school students to the many STEM career opportunities at national laboratories.

While some high school students may have a strong vision of their dream career, SAGE introduces students to a wide range of STEM-focused careers, proving that they can balance artistic expression, historic research, and creative writing with application of logical thinking, analytic skills, and computational ability.

The second annual SAGE summer camp was held from July 9-15, packing Laboratory tours, lectures, job shadowing and independent project work into a fun-filled week. Headquartered at the Livermore Valley Open Campus (LVOC), campers heard from a diverse cross-section of LLNL staff, culminating in a keynote talk from Lab Director Kim Budil.

Campers appreciated the insight into STEM-related careers, with one attendee noting “The best part was meeting so many people who come from diverse backgrounds and interests and seeing all kinds of niche career paths. There are so many jobs that I didn't even know existed.”

Another camper summarized her experience with a change of heart: “It really surprised me how much my view of the STEM field has changed. In the past, I've been in higher level math classes, but I decided after last year that I didn't want to do any more math. I was done with it. I was tired of science. And then my mom was like, 'hey, sign up for this,' and I decided to go see what SAGE camp was about. And it's just changed my views so much. I'm really looking into computer science now. This camp is so inspiring and shows you so much that you wouldn't get a view of being on the outside.”

The inclusive nature of the Lab also was highlighted, as one camper said: “This seems like a great place to work, it's a great environment to be around. Whatever you're interested in, there's always going to be a place for you at the Lab.”

The video below highlights the campers’ experiences:

At the end of the week, students virtually presented as groups on various aspects of the camps, such as projects, tours, job shadowing and professional growth lessons, and gave their key takeaways including how their perspectives had changed since the camp start. But the SAGE experience doesn’t end once the week is over. Alumni campers gain access to the SAGE Journey network of students and professionals, including monthly virtual professional development and science events and networking and internship opportunities.

Gianpaolo Carosi and Joanna Albala, co-leads of the LLNL SAGE program, were heartened by the inquisitive nature of this year’s attendees. “There were some really, really insightful questions that I wasn’t anticipating, especially from students who haven’t had much exposure to the Lab…our ultimate goal is in 20–30 years, we want SAGE campers to be national laboratory directors.” Carosi said. More than 60 LLNL volunteers contributed to the week’s success.

SAGE Camp attendees pose for a selfie on a tour of the Discovery Center.
SAGE camp attendees pose for a selfie on a tour of the Discovery Center.

Visit the SAGE website for more information on the national program, or click here for more information on science education opportunities at LLNL. A collection of photos from the camp can be viewed on LLNL's Flickr page here.

-- Stephanie Turza

July 31, 2023


Lauren Casonhua Lauren Casonhua
[email protected]
(925) 423-3141

Related Links

Science Accelerating Girls’ Engagement