SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Local girl scouts and their families will once again converge upon Wittenberg University to experience the wonders of several academic disciplines as part of the fifth annual Girl Scouts Science and Math Exploration Night from 5:30-11 p.m. Friday, April 22, in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center.
The event welcomes Girl Scouts of the Buckeye Trails Council to Wittenberg’s campus and provides them with the opportunity to interact with college students and professors. According to student organizer Natalie Muir of Noblesville, Ind., class of 2005, the event is intended to inspire future generations of scientists and build interest in the science field for years to come. Girls as young as first grade and their families will attend presentations in biology, chemistry, geology, math, physics and psychology, and they will also get a turn viewing the heavens in Weaver Observatory, provided the skies are relatively clear.
“This is a great opportunity for younger girls to see that there is a future in science – that it’s not just for men,” said Muir, a chemistry major who is planning to attend Indiana University’s School of Dentistry in the fall. “We’re trying to show that science is not only a field that you can go into, but that it’s fun and exciting.”
Muir is a former president of the Wittenberg Chemistry Club, which sponsored and organized the 2005 event by securing commitments from students to lead the troops during the event and coordinating room assignments for the departmental presentations. She said that approximately 130 Girl Scouts have signed up to attend the event.
Wittenberg faculty members leading the presentations are Margaret Goodman, associate professor of biology; Jay Yoder, associate professor of biology; Mark Ellison, assistant professor of chemistry; Carol Ormand, visiting assistant professor of geology; Brian Shelburne, associate professor of computer science; David Lee, assistant professor of physics; Dan Fleisch, assistant professor of physics; and Mary Jo Zembar, associate professor of psychology. Each will be joined by at least one student volunteer.
Ellison has been involved with the event for several years, and he believes it is a great way to generate interest in science among girls. Every year he demonstrates the important aspects of chemistry using the common elements of hydrogen and oxygen.
“This country needs each generation to provide scientists to lead us in the coming years,” Ellison said. “We hope that by seeing scientists in action, the girls will discover in themselves a fascination for science that will lead, for some, to a career in science.”
Mike Crotty, class of 2002, envisioned an event that would provide his own daughters with a fun introduction to all the possibilities the world of science has to offer when he introduced Girl Scouts Science and Math Night in 2001. He believed that too often girls are persuaded to look into non-scientific areas of study, and he thought bright young female science majors could serve as role models to his girls and others in the area.
“We at the Girl Scouts of Buckeye Trails Council are excited about this opportunity for our girls to learn about science from leading scientists, especially female role models,” said Kim Gaffney, younger girl program specialist with the Girls Scouts of Buckeye Trails Council. “We hope that this experience sparks interest in science, as well as encourages girls to realize future possibilities in the fields of science and math.”
Female students of all majors at Wittenberg, but especially in the sciences, have devoted their time to keep this event going in recent years. The students will help lead the Girl Scouts in discussions during the event, and they will share their experiences studying science in college.
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