VCU hosts Girl Scouts for Science Fun Day
Annual event introduces science and engineering to young women
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Providing Girl Scouts with an opportunity to explore different fields in science, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Women in Science (WIS) student organization recently hosted Girl Scouts Science Fun Day. Approximately 40 Girl Scouts from the greater Richmond area participated in the half-day of workshops, lectures and hands-on experiments led by VCU professors.
“I love this program. I think it is important and empowering for young women,” said Michelle Peace, Ph.D., interim chair for the VCU Department of Forensic Science in the College of Humanities and Sciences. “It is a great way for the community to show young people how they can be involved in science.”
The Girl Scouts, ages 9 to 12, were separated into small groups and rotated through six stations. These stations exposed them to clinical lab sciences, DNA structures, pathology, biomedical engineering and forensic sciences.
“VCU opens up opportunities for people from around the city to familiarize themselves with the university and participate,” said Napolean L. Peoples, Ph.D., associate dean in the Division of Student Affairs. “This is a great way for young women to have an introduction to science and engineering.”
A proponent of getting girls involved in science, Michelle Laws, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Health in the VCU School of Medicine and a WIS member, was the event organizer.
“As a Girl Scout alum, I think it is an excellent program. I wish I had these opportunities when I was a Girl Scout,” said Laws.
For Jennifer Wayne, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering in the School of Engineering, this annual event is about community outreach.
“Outreach and giving to the community is an important role of the university. It is useful for the girls to learn about universities and to know VCU is an exciting place to be,” said Wayne. “I think it is a very worthwhile activity, and I try to give the girls hands-on activities to keep them excited about math and science.”
The WIS supports and promotes the career development of women scientists at VCU by increasing the representation, participation and leadership of women in scientific disciplines.
“We’re reaching out as Girl Scouts in 2013 to make sure the public understands that we are moving in a direction to excite girls and fostering activities that can hopefully become careers,” said Viola Baskerville, CEO of the Girl Scouts of the Commonwealth of Virginia Council. “We are very excited about partnerships that provide the girls with leadership role models, such as this annual event at VCU.”
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