Volunteers from over a dozen regional institutions welcomed over 160 middle school girls to the event this Saturday. GEST’s mission is to provide hands-on STEM opportunities and female STEM role models to girls in eastern NC. PhD students Courtney Swink and Sarah Loftus were on the GEST planning team, which organized this collaborative outreach event in which girls rotated through different STEM activities and a panel discussion. Courtney Swink led one of the twelve STEM activities. She explained the concept of algae cultivation for biofuels and other products, had girls set up their own algae cultures, and described the outdoor cultivation ponds with a tour.