For the seventh consecutive year, several Wittenberg academic departments will come together for Girl Scouts Science Night. The event, which presents science in exciting and fun ways to the Girl Scouts of the Buckeye Trails Council, is scheduled for 6-10 p.m. Friday, April 20, in the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center.
The event combines the efforts of Wittenberg departments of chemistry, geology, mathematics, computer science, physics and psychology. Brief presentations and activities are geared toward stimulating the Scouts' imagination and getting them more interested in the wide – or perhaps wild – world of science.
Professor of Computer Science and Department Chair Brian Shelburne is one of the event coordinators in 2007. Shelburne, a regular participant in the event, said Girl Scouts Science Night has become a very positive annual campus event.
"I'm exhausted when it's done, but the girls are so eager to learn and they seem to really enjoy being here, so it's a real 'high' for me," he said.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry Justin Houseknecht is also helping to coordinate the event. He has seen Girl Scouts Science Night evolve into a big event for the university.
"There have typically been around 100 Girl Scouts in attendance, but that number also includes parents and siblings," Houseknecht said.
Emily Daniels, class of 2009 from Grove City, Ohio, is coordinating student volunteers for this year's event. She said she has been flooded by phone calls and e-mails from students trying to get their names on the volunteer list.
"One of my passions is encouraging young women to pursue science studies, and this program is a great way to do it," said Daniels, who is president of the Chemistry Club. "Too many young women lose interest in science before they even get to high school. With the current demand for women in math and science fields, it is important to spark interest early.
"I think the Girl Scouts Science Night program is a great way to do that."
Wittenberg professors and students have combined to make this a great event in recent years. This year, more than 40 Wittenberg students are volunteering their time in an effort to give the Girl Scoutss an exciting, hands-on science experience.
"I am very excited about this year's Science Night program," Daniels said. "I have had students come to me as early as December to make sure they get their name on the volunteer list. Plus, it's a great way for Wittenberg professors and students to get involved with the Springfield community."
While the professors and students do not receive financial compensation for their efforts, they don't walk away empty-handed.
"They pay me in Girl Scout cookies," Shelburne joked.
Written By: Ross Mahaffey '07
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