November 11, 2016
On Nov. 19, 100 girls in grades 6-12 who are interested in the sciences will conduct hands-on experiments and projects at West Chester University';s annual Super Science Saturday.
New for this year, organizer Karen Schwarz, astronomer and associate professor in WCU's Earth and Space Sciences Department, is bringing two women engineers into the mix, in part through her connection with the American Helicopter Museum and Education Center in West Chester.
Schwarz has separated the high school girls from those in middle school so that presenting scientists are able to create more age-appropriate programming.
"Studies have shown that girls start to lose interest in science as they enter middle school," Schwarz notes. "Our goal is to educate girls about the various careers that are available in the STEM fields [science, technology, engineering, math] and show them that science can be fun!"
She is joined by a number of the University's other women faculty scientists in biology, chemistry, computer science, geology and astronomy, math, and physics.
Participants will hear from professional women in science about specific careers, successes, and how they overcame hurdles. They will also learn from WCU women science students not that much older than themselves about the interesting and challenging aspects of studying and preparing for careers in science. Schwarz hopes to shatter some stereotypes, such as scientists being stuck in labs all their lives or geologists always getting dirty while digging up rocks.
Interactive sessions include activities that are designed to spark curiosity about math and science content including creating virtual worlds on the computer, looking at the motions of flocks and swarms, and solving pet mysteries in veterinary science.
It's OK for young women studying science to feel out of place at times, Schwarz says, recalling that she questioned her choice of science as a major during a difficult freshman year, asking herself "What if I'm not good at this?" She persevered, got a tutor, graduated with honors, and is now teaching astronomy to and guiding young women (and young men) toward success. "There are always resources to help you," she notes.
Super Science Saturday begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 3 p.m. Activities take place in Merion Science Center, 720 South Church Street.
For registration and additional information, click here.