Research on MagLab science camp yields a framework for better understanding how to encourage girls and underrepresented minorities in STEM's most male-dominated field.

SciGirls Quest with Dr. Hank Bass and Katherin Easterling at FSU's research fields.SciGirls Quest with Dr. Hank Bass and Katherin Easterling at FSU's research fields.

So many scientists today! We started bright and early with a Skype visit from Dr. Aavidai Swamy of FAMU and an in-person visit from her graduate students, Anjali Sharma and Deepa Raveendranpillai. Dr. Swamy shared her research on climate and environmental change and encourage our girls to think about how their interests can have a positive impact on the world. We then used playdough and banana leaves to model topography and hydrology, and saw 3D-printed models of agricultural fields and drainage ditches that can help curtail agricultural runoff.

Emma Martin of FSU Engineering and the MagLab came to visit and led us in an engineering challenge. Girls worked in teams to build towers out of tape and index cards working within budget and time constraints. After our challenge, Emma shared with us her experiences a woman in engineering and encouraged our girls to be confident and take risks.

After lunch we took a trip to FSU’s Biology Department and met with Dr. Hank Bass, Juan Reza, and Katherine Easterling. Juan shared with us his research on plant growth and reminded us how exciting science (of any kind) can be. Dr. Bass taught us about Zea mays and mutant corn and gave us each a copy of his book Crazy Lazy Corn. Afterwards we drove out to Dr. Bass’ research fields and greenhouses and we learned how to make crosses and how to pollinate ears of corn. Some of us left with popcorn souvenirs!

We returned to the MagLab with our heads full of ideas and excitement!

SciGirls with Alyssa Henderson learning about Crystals!SciGirls with Alyssa Henderson learning about Crystals!

Today was a fun filled, challenging day! We started the day with help from Kikelomo Ijagbemi, a doctoral student in electrical engineering. She gave us a quick lesson on circuits before we dove into "High Tech Fashion!" For the next few hours, girls constructed fabric bracelets with LED lights! Our girls got to try their hands on engineering, physics, and sewing all at the same time! It was a challenge, but we stuck to it and most of our girls created beautiful lit bracelets!

After lunch, we played the Microscopy Game! Our girls competed in groups to see who could figure out the different types of food under microscopic magnification. It was a fun time before our next activity!

Afterwards, PhD student, Alyssa Henderson, came in to show us how to make and grow crystals! Our girls used Borax, water, and pipe cleaners to make crystals! Our crystals will be growing throughout the week and we'll get to take them home on Friday! After our crystal making, Alyssa took us on a tour of her area of the MagLab, the Condensed Matter Facility. It was so cool to see where crystals are grown, x-rayed, and used in experiments. 

From there, we went downstairs in the MagLab to take tours of both the 3D Printing Facility and the Machine Shop! It's really cool to take both these tours back to back, as the machine shop takes huge pieces of metals and other materials, and dwindles them down to usable pieces for the lab to use, while the 3D printers are opposite, and start with nothing to create almost anything! 

All in all, it was a wonderful day! We are looking forward to tomorrow at the Florida Center for Integrated Media, and chemistry with Dr. Amy McKenna!

SciGirls Quest MagLab TourSciGirls Quest MagLab Tour

We had a full day at the MagLab today! We started off with an informative tour of the facilities with our mentors, Kari Roberts and Jennifer Neu, both from the MagLab. We were thrilled by the giant magnets and amazing facilities here at the lab. Afterwards we analyzed the color distributions in M&M bags with Kari, and we were on the edge of our seats! It turns out colors are not equally represented in milk vs. dark chocolate M&Ms!  We squeezed in a little research time for our Mars colonization project before lunch and started to envision what our Martian habitats might look like. Castle Kim from FSU’s Innovation Hub came to visit after lunch to introduce us to the magic of 3D printing and computer aided design, and left us with some cute “flexi-rexi” 3D-printed dinosaurs. We wrapped up circling back to our projects to finish out the day. 

SciGirls Discover 2019 day1 at 45teslaSciGirls Discover 2019 day1 at 45 tesla

Today was day 1 of SciGirls Discover Camp! With a fresh new vibe, SciGirls is at it again this summer, exploring all areas of STEM and diving deeper into STEM careers! Today was a fun filled day!

We started the day with our safety trainings here at the MagLab, then off to become official by getting our MagLab badges! From there we played a getting to know you game, and found out some really funny, but interesting, facts about each other!

Afterwards, we went on the DC Tour here at the MagLab, guided by Dr. Julia Smith! Our SciGirls were so interested, they asked so many questions! Dr. Smith was so impressed by our girls’ inquisitive behavior! Dr. Smith walked us around the entire DC field facility, highlighting the MagLab’s 45 Tesla Magnet!

After our tour, we ate lunch, and then we got to explore making circuits with Playdoh! Yep, Playdoh is conductive!! Our SciGirls made all sorts of creatures, cars, planes, flowers, and even UFOs, that all lit up, or buzzed, or had a fan blowing! After making Playdoh creatures, it was time for STEM Skilltastics! This game got our girls up and active, while answering STEM trivia questions! The girls had so much fun!

We ended the day figuring out the secret of the Fortune Teller Fish, and then naming our Flying Pig! Please ask your SciGirl about these fun activities!

Tomorrow will be a fun day as we explore crystals, high tech fashion bracelets, microscopy, and so much more!!

SciGirls Quest 2019 - Day 1 Introduction and Mars researchSciGirls Quest 2019 - Day 1 Introduction and Mars research

SciGirls Quest is off to an exciting start after a fun-filled first day! Our amazing girls had the chance to get to know each other today, participate in a little team building, and get ready for our adventures over the next two weeks. In addition to all of our start-of-camp business, we rolled out the camp research project,  Mission to Mars: Designing a Sustainable Colony of the Red Planet. Our girls will be working in teams to research Mars and, together with their experiences over the next few weeks, they will design a self-sustaining colony for future Mars settlers, some of which may come from this very group of girls! We had a visit from Steffanie Sillitoe-Kukas of FSU and the MagLab who is researching Mars’ geology through meteorites. We also met with Kim Kelling and Suzanne Smith of WFSU who will be helping our girls to communicate scientific research to the world. Looking forward to the next two weeks!

A young computer programmer was surprised by not one, but two awards for building systems crucial to running the lab's magnets.

Ten Florida teachers worked side by side with MagLab researchers during the summer of 2018.

SciGirls2 with Southeast Archeological Center and "Pat"SciGirls2 with Southeast Archeological Center and "Pat"

The last day of camp (super sad face.)  Today was a bittersweet day, as we wrapped up an amazing two weeks of scientific fun! This morning, our girls were challenged to create posters displaying either what they aspire to be when they grow up in science, or which career covered over the past two weeks they were inspired by the most. From there, the displays gave a definition of the career, and steps needed to be taken from now until then to achieve that career. Our girls were blown away when they started their research, but quickly discovered that with some work, they can achieve anything they want to, as long as they try, and never give up! Of course, we had to have just one more visit on this last day from women in science. The Southeast Archeological Center with the National Park Service, led by Alexandra Parsons and her staff, came to give a presentation and hands on activity all about the science behind archaeology. The presentation dove into what archeologists do at sites, how they use chemistry to identify residue, math to identify ages and diet eaten, statistical analysis, and the use of ground penetrating radar to image what is below the ground surface. The ladies explained the excavation process, stratigraphy (the layers of soil that make up an archeological site,) seriation, dendrochronology (tree ring dating,) radiocarbon dating, and osteology. From there, the girls split into three rotations where they got to get a hands on experience with the SEAS women. One station focused on stratigraphy and seriation, where girls had to determine the time period for each stratigraphic layer based on items recovered. Another station focused on dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating, where girls needed to determine how old the site is, where artifacts were found. The also used dendrochronology to decide how old the trees were when they were cut at the site. The last station focused on human osteology, the study of the structure and function of the skeleton and bone structures, and paleodemography, the study of the composition of human populations in antiquity and prehistory. This station sorted skeletal remains into anatomical positions, using skeleton drawings as guides. They also looked into dentition, the arrangement of an individual’s teeth! It was a super scientific, hands on, and fun experience! We are very thankful for SEAS for coming out to the MagLab for us! Once we were finished with our activity, it was time to settle down, complete camp post-surveys, and finish up our presentation displays in preparation for tonight’s end of camp reception. Whew! It was an amazing, intense, fabulous ride, and one that we hope our SciGirls will never forget! For now, SciGirls II 2018 is out! Don’t forget to tell your friends and family to apply for next summer!!

SciGirls I check

We can’t believe this is the final day of SciGirls 2018. We have had so much fun in many different settings, learning LOTS of different things! These young ladies have been amazing and we know their futures will be very bright!

This last day of SciGirls began with an archeological experience. Alex Parsons, of the Southeast Archeological Center-National Park Service, and her team helped us dig into the past! We learned that archeology is the study of ancient people and the things they left behind. We investigated a mock archeological site at the Mag Lab that had been looted. This included documenting damage to the site, recovering artifacts and working in our “lab” to analyze artifacts, human remains and interpreting our findings for a final report.

Our afternoon included surveys, interviews and creating posters to show the world all we’ve experienced during our two week camp. We have made new friends and created memories to last a lifetime. We encourage all of our campers to come back for SciGirls II and after that to return as volunteers. Once a SciGirl, always a SciGirl!

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