Interest in STEM, Technical Careers Raise Female Ranks at Ranken Summer Camp


The student makeup at Ranken Technical College’s Summer Adventure Academy was quite different this year. Women have traditionally been under represented in past years at the Academy’s camps, but times are changing. This summer, females represented from 25% to 50% in many of the camps.

Ranken opens its doors for several weeks every summer to hundreds of middle school and high school students to spur their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to encourage their decisions to pursue technical careers.

This year, of the 123 middle schoolers participating in the camps, 42 were girls. Especially popular with these young students, were the Heavy Metals (welding) camp, which featured hands-on welding, and the Web Design camp. These programs were almost evenly divided between males and females.

High school students are offered differed programs. In their camps, of the 142 participants, 38 were females. A “Women in Engineering” camp was filled, with other popular choices among female high schoolers being Remote Control Race Engineering, Robotics and Racing, Design & Engineering and Tetrix Robotics, with approximately 25 to 40% female participation. Wood Works and Adventures in Architecture were popular camps, as well.

“We are very pleased that young people, and especially young women, are taking advantage of these camp experiences,” said Ranken Vice President of Diversity and Student Success Crystal Herron. “The hands-on activities are educational, but they are also inspirational and aspirational. Both men and women are needed to fill technical jobs and we are helping them discover new career opportunities.”

The program, which charges minimal fees and offers scholarships, is funded in part by a National Science Foundation advanced technological education grant and by many generous local donors.

About Ranken Technical College
Ranken Technical College is a private, non-profit, degree-granting institution of higher learning whose primary mission is to provide the comprehensive education and training necessary to prepare students for employment and advancement in a variety of technical fields. For more information, visit

Electrical Connection Charts Career Pathways In Salute to Students Excelling in STEM Subjects


22 St. Charles High School Students Honored forAchievements in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

The Electrical Connection expanded its support of the best and brightest high school students in St. Charles County by charting pathways to career opportunities in the electrical industry.   As it has done in previous years, the Electrical Connection co-sponsored the STEM Celebration Breakfast presented by EDC Business & Community Partners in St. Charles County.  The ninth annual salute recognized 22 students who excel in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math.  This year, it also included a panel discussion on career development that featured Dennis Gralike, director of the award-winning IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Center.

The training center at 2300 Hampton Ave. is operated by the labor-management partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and the St. Louis Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).  IBEW and NECA also form the Electrical Connection.

Gralike detailed the training center’s robust curriculum that builds on the foundation of science, technology, engineering and math.  He also noted training center’s accreditations that allow apprentices and journey workers to earn college credits.

For more than 75 years, the training center has produced more highly skilled and safe electricians and communication technicians than any other education program in Missouri.  It features a five-year, 10,000 hour education program that is industry funded at no taxpayer expense.  Its apprentices are instructed free of charge and have opportunities to earn a living while they learn the electrical trade.

“There’s no better example of the importance of STEM education than the growing complexities of commercial, industrial and residential electrical and communications construction,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection.  “The STEM achievers we salute today have the potential to design, engineer and orchestrate the installation the electrical and communications infrastructure to meet our future technology needs.  These students will shape our next generation data centers, advanced manufacturing facilities, hospitals, renewable energy, smart buildings and more.”  Curran Wencouraged the students to build their careers in St. Louis.

Curran also announced that through the Electrical Connection’s partnership with the St. Louis Cardinals, the students and school officials will be treated to a special behind the scenes look at how STEM education is applied to running the storied baseball franchise.  On April 24, 2018, they will be invited to Busch Stadium to hear from team officials in several departments about how they apply STEM subjects.

The learning session will be concluded by a luncheon co-sponsored by the Electrical Connection.      The St. Charles County high school students honored at this year’s STEM breakfast include:

  • Hannah Ballard, Lutheran High;
  • Samuel Baumann, St. Charles West;
  • Adam Colter, Lewis & Clark
  • Claire Frank, Francis Howell
  • Emily Harrelson, Fort Zumwalt South
  • Andrew Janes, Fort Zumwalt North
  • Jacob Krussel, Duchesne High
  • Robert Merritt, St. Charles High
  • Hayden Mills, Wentzville Timberland High
  • Jade Nguyen, Fort Zumwalt East
  • Andrew Oliver, Christian High
  • Cooper Redington, Francis Howell Central
  • David Reineke, Orchard Farm
  • Keyton Rovka, Wentzville Holt High
  • Alexandra Sabala, St. Dominic
  • Jiyu Son, Fort Zumwalt West
  • Seth Tate, Wentzville Liberty Academy
  • Caitlind Walker, Francis Howell North

Students honored in the Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS) Program include Levi Virden, St. Charles High; Grant Argent, Francis Howell; Savannah Rackovan, Wentzville High; and Brandon Siebert, Orchard Farm High.

The STEM breakfast is one of several educational initiatives support by the Electrical Connection.  Others include partnerships with the FIRST Robotics, the Saint Louis Science CenterMissouri Energy Initiative (MEI), the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and more.

The STEM Celebration Breakfast and panel discussion was held Thursday March 22, 2018 at the Old Hickory Golf Club in St. Peters, Mo.

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit

McGrath Completes Construction Of New Girl Scouts Science & Engineering Program Center


GSA E. MO 2McGrath & Associates has completed construction on the expansion of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri headquarters at 2306 Ball Drive in Maryland Heights. The new Berges Family Girl Scouts Program Center houses programs that are focused on STEM careers, health and money management. Oculus Inc. was the architect. Landmark Contract Management was the owner’s representative.
McGrath constructed the 6,500-square-foot one-story facility in an existing space adjacent to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri headquarters. The new program center includes a robotics lab, science area, demonstration kitchen and program studio. Design features include suspended lighting, acoustical ceiling “clouds” and a glass feature wall.

“McGrath has been a tremendous partner in taking our ideas and working with us to bring them into fruition,” said Bonnie Barczykowski, CEO of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri. “The result is more than a space, it’s an environment that will nurture girl leadership development for years to come.”

The Program Center is the first of its kind for the organization, according to Barczykowski. GSEM has more than 43,000 girl members and 15,000 adult members in St. Louis City and 28 surrounding counties.

McGrath & Associates is a 100 percent employee-owned general contractor and construction management firm specializing in commercial, health care, industrial, institutional and pharmaceutical construction projects since 1983.