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Isabel Escobar: Girls in Science Day at UT, March 19

A day of hands-on experiments and activities at the University of Toledo aims to encourage more high school girls to pursue math and science careers.


Girls in Science Day, the first of what coordinators hope will become an annual event, invites more than 45 high school sophomores and juniors to explore the fields of engineering, chemistry and physics and astronomy with UT women professors, administrators and students.
 
Regardless of how hard we try to tell them, those fields are still known as being male fields and that could be a turn off, said Isabel Escobar, UT associate professor of chemical and environmental engineering.
 
Maybe checking out the
Wind Tunnel at the College of Engineering, exploring the Ritter Planetarium and Brooks Observatory, and making smoking bubbles and other experiments in a chemistry lab will turn the girls on to the STEMM fields of science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine.
 
The high school girls will be on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, March 19, 2010, to have those experiences.
 
Most of the girls attend
Toledo Public Schools, including Rogers, Woodward, and Start high schools, as well as Toledo Early College High School that is located on the UT Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation.
 
Central Catholic High School, Ottawa Hills High School, Springfield High School, and Delta High School also were invited to participate.
 
Dr. Rosemary Haggett, UT Main Campus provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, will welcome the girls to campus at the beginning of the event.
 
Involvement in the sciences can lead to so many exciting and rewarding opportunities and experiences, said Dr. Haggett, who has served as an administrator with the National Science Foundation, dean of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences at
West Virginia University, and a biology professor. I encourage all girls interested in science, math and technology to pursue those interests and really enjoy the opportunities those pursuits provide.
 
The Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women and Northwest Chapter of the Association of Women in Science are the primary sponsors of the Girls in Science Day. A gift from immunologist Dr.
Philippa Marrack, who spoke on campus last year, helped make the event possible.
 
Girls in Science Day is an expansion of outreach Charlene Gilbert, director of the Eberly Center, began when she came to UT in 2007 and was surprised to learn only 16 percent of students in the STEMM fields at the University were women.
 
The opportunities abound for strong careers in the STEMM fields and I want to make sure women are not left out, Gilbert said.
 
The center created the WISE mentoring program, which stands for Women in STEMM Excelling, to help support UTs female students in those fields. The Girls in Science Day will take it a step further and reach girls in high school with the WISE students on hand to interact with the girls.

 

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