When a Florida teacher had the chance to spend a second summer doing research at the MagLab, he didn’t have to think twice.

The author examined the longitudinal trajectories of eleven college age young women who had participated in a STEM informal education program during middle school. This study provides a unique addition to the literature in that it provides a view of STEM identity trajectories over time, specifically focusing on how these women maintained interest or lost interest in STEM after participation in a STEM informal education program for girls.

The 2013 SciGirls camp, held from July 8 to July 26, provided 35 girls with fun, hands-on activities and field trips designed to inspire girls to pursue careers in science.

Five teachers from Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla counties spent their summer as MagLab interns, learning skills related to cutting-edge magnet science.

Getting a PhD in science is an arduous feat; for some minority students, it can be especially challenging. The MagLab is working to give these students the tools and opportunities they need to see their journey through.

The director of the lab's Center for Integrating Research and Learning is among a group of experts creating the future research agenda on women’s underrepresentation in engineering and computing.

Staff from the Center for Integrating Research and Learning represented the MagLab in a booth at USA Science and Engineering Festival held in Washington DC held April 25-27. More than 1,500 visitors stopped by the booth over the three days.

This week at the lab, Ella Morton is heading to New Orleans to attend the bi-annual Ocean Sciences Meeting, her first scientific conference. She is pretty excited: Her suitcase has been packed for months with her mermaid painting, favorite story book, and My Little Pony.

At age 5, she's too young to drive the six hours from Tallahassee to the Big Easy. Luckily, her dad, MagLab geochemist Peter Morton, is going, too, and, as a father of four, is an experienced chauffeur.

Morton is able to bring Ella (child #3) to the conference, where he and his undergrad students will present data on the flow of micronutrients in the ocean, thanks to a MagLab Dependent Care Travel Grant. Launched as a diversity initiative in 2006 and funded by the Florida State University Office of Research, the program helps cover the cost of caring for children or other dependents so that MagLab staff can travel to conferences and MagLab users can come here to conduct experiments.

The financial and logistical strain of raising a family and establishing a career can weigh on young scientists. Last year, Morton was away from home for more than four months, including a 75-day expedition to the North Pole. Whenever possible, Morton brings one of his children, ages 3 to 11, on the road with him. The benefits are many: it eases the burden on his wife, allows him to spend one-on-time with his children, and exposes his kids to the life of a scientist.

"People are paying more attention to the fact that scientists aren't just hard-core data managers and idea generators, but that they have a life outside of science," said Morton. "It makes me feel better about my chosen field."

Increasingly, scientific conferences offer camps or other childcare for kids of participants, and Morton has noticed more of his colleagues bringing wee ones in tow. Youngsters get to watch mom or dad on the job and learn more about what scientists do. Watching her father present his poster at a recent meeting helped his oldest daughter give a better presentation at her middle school science fair, he said.

"I really appreciate this shift in attitude," said Morton, "where there's more infrastructure and attention given to parents and families who want to stay engaged in the science and their personal lives."


Text by Kristen Coyne / Photo by Jennifer Morton

More than 80 demonstrations will be simultaneously underway at the MagLab during Open House.

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