Middle-school aged girls to explore sciences

Marci Kacsir

Groups on Western’s campus are trying to prevent the science and engineering field from being an all-boys club.

Girls from fifth to eighth grade from surrounding Bowling Green and Warren County middle schools will participate in the second annual Girls in Science Day, put on by Women in Science and Engineering and Western’s women’s studies department.

The program will start at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Thompson Complex Central Wing.

Stacy Wilson, an engineering associate professor, said the day’s purpose is to teach girls that they can be successful in science.

“The purpose of the day is to introduce middle school girls to different areas of the sciences,” Wilson said. “We’ve known from a study that girls at that age are typically turned off to the sciences and lose interest in math and science.”

The girls attend three classes in the morning in agriculture, biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and math, taught by Western professors and aided by graduate students. After lunch, they work on a team project.

“I think it was very successful,” Wilson said about last year’s event. “We had hoped for more girls, but we didn’t really do a good job of advertising.”

Thandi Buthelezi, an assistant professor of chemistry, helped Wilson organize the event and will teach a chemistry class on Saturday.

She said she thinks that the enrollment will improve over last year and that the event is better organized after learning from the first year. Last year, 50 girls attended.

Wilson said they sent word about the event to the staff and faculty e-mail lists and sent letters to all the girls who participated last year to get the word out earlier.

Wilson said 69 girls are enrolled so far. After last minute registration is over, she expects the final participant count to be about 100 girls.

“I think we’ve not only got more girls, but they’re from a lot more different schools,”she said. “I think that will help it to grow also.”

Reach Marci Kacsir at [email protected]