Scigirls2 2018 visits FSU's Innovation HubScigirls2 2018 visits FSU's Innovation Hub

Today was an amazing SciGirls 2 day! We spent our day on the beautiful FSU campus and visited both the Herbarium and the Innovation Hub. We started our day at the Herbarium, with role model, Katie Pearson, MS in ecology and evolution. She’s been working at the Herbarium for 3 years, and has been the curator for 2 years. The Herbarium is basically an organized library of dried plants over hundreds of years old. The Herbarium is home to over 226, 000 specimens. Since opening in the 1960’s, it specializes with plants from Florida and southeastern U.S. Our girls were able to see how plant specimens are taken from the field, pressed, and then dried for 24 hours. After the plants are dried, they are glued, labeled and set aside for digitalization. After the Herbarium, we walked to the Innovation Hub, led by Castle Hill, Doctoral student. We started with a presentation about the history of 3D printing and the different types of 3D printers and their uses. 3D printing was actually patented by Chuck Hull, in 1984, when he printed an eye cup for an eye doctor. 3D printing is now used almost everywhere including with fashion. Fun fact…the queen’s costume in the movie, Black Panther, is mostly 3D printed! We then went to the computer lab, and using, we each created a 3D digital maker coin that Castle will 3D print and bring to us! We also get the opportunity to draw scientific illustrations that Castle will laser print on wooden coasters, keychains, or baggage tags as mementos! We ended the day with a tour of the entire Innovation Hub space, including the use of graphic computers, virtual reality headsets, sketching pads, ping pong, and all of the different types of 3D printers, some of which were in the middle of printing! We are so thankful to both Katie and Castle for our amazing diverse day of botany and STEAM exploration!

Scigirls1 2018 groupScigirls1 2018 group

SciGirls I 2018 has officially kicked off! We toured the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and enjoyed lunch with our annual Ladies of Science Luncheon. We are very grateful to these ladies for giving their time and sharing wonderful words of wisdom with us: Dr. Renee Gordon, Stem Program Director at TCC; Dr. Christianne Beekman, MagLab Assistant Professor working in condensed matter physics; Roxanne Simpson, Program Director for FSU SSS-STEM; Dr. Adrienne Stephenson, Assistant Director of FSU grad school; Dr. Julia Smith, physicist at the MagLab; and Dr. Patricia Novey of Novey Animal Hospital.

These nuggets of wisdom were shared with us during today’s luncheon: After being the only female in her classes, Dr. Gordon suggested you find something in common with classmates to find a way to join in conversations and work together. Dr. Smith started out as one of five ladies in a class of 100. By graduation, there were five ladies out of twenty students remaining! She made it a point to be part of the larger group, not just a member of the female group. Dr. Novey was excited to be a member of her class with 51% women. Although she was treated inappropriately during interviews, Dr. Novey focused on working in places where she was respected. Dr. Stephenson emphasized that being a diverse member of a group is not a bad thing. She reminded us that your differences make you unique and enhance the environment you’re in. Ms. Simpson told us she had to overcome the expectation that she should not work as hard as male counterparts in her career. She told us to remember, “Your goals are your goals, for your reasons.” Dr. Beekman encouraged us with her advice, “If you know what you want to do, just go for it!”

Although our afternoon plans for Water Moves were altered due to inclement weather, we had a blast getting to know each other with some fun games. We’re excited to trek to Tall Timbers and Diverse Computing tomorrow!

Scigirls2 2018 geocache.jpgSciGirls 2 Rocked Innovation Park!

What a day!! Today kicked off another summer of SciGirls 2 camp! The day started off with camp logistics, including MagLab safety and security, getting badges, and research surveys. Once all the “business” was taken care of, the real fun started!! We started with a MagLab tour, led by Dr. Afi Sachi-Kocher, a geochemist here at the lab. She walked us around the lab, showing us how the magnets are made and where they are housed. We passed by multiple “machine shops” and areas of scientists working. We, of course, went to visit the most powerful magnet in the world, the 45 tesla, housed right here in the lab! Then, Dr. Afi took us to the geochemistry area and she walked us all around. Geochemistry involves both geology and chemistry. Geochemists analyze rain water, lakes, even meteorites in both solid form and liquid form, among many other “rocky” things! After our tour, we enjoyed a luncheon with 6 female scientists from around Tallahassee. Each scientist spoke about their field of science, how they got there, and challenges along the way. Then the scientist joined groups of scigirls campers to eat lunch, where they continued their scientific conversation. Special thanks to Dr. Renee Gordon, Stem Program Director at TCC, Dr. Christianne Beekman, MagLab Asst. Professor, Dondensed Matter Physics, Roxanne Simpson, Program Director for FSU SSS-STEM, Dr. Adrienne Stephenson, Asst. Director of FSU grad school, Dr. Patricia Novey, veterinarian, and Dr. Julia Smith, a MagLab physicist, for joining us for the discussion panel and science lunchtime conversations! We ended the day with a geojourney! Our girls used GPS devices to track along a trail, leading them to wFSU, where they found a treasure box full of rocks to paint, and painting materials. We then spent a bit of time decorating those rocks, and then hid them on our journey back to the MagLab. Tomorrow brings a day of fun, and a brand new SciGirls experience for this year, as we take on FSU’s Innovation hub, Herbarium, and learn all about 3D printing!!

SciGirls2 2017 Day 10

SciGirls II on our last day of camp. So sad to see it end!

Another spectacular SciGirls Summer is coming to an end. It's been an amazing two weeks, as our girls have worked together and bonded, learning more about STEM fields, and about themselves.

Today, our girls thought about their futures. Each girl was given an opportunity to research a possible career path, including their education along the way, from challenges in high school to the amount of schooling needed, and eye opening reality check concerning tuition! After researching, girls created displays of their findings that will be showcased at tonight's reception.

No SciGirls day is complete without some hands-on science! Today, we had a visit from Southeast Archeological Center - National Park Service. Thanks to Dr. Katie Miyar, Dr. Hillary Conley, Megan Merrick, Brittney Shields, Megan Williamson, Edith Gregory, Paige Hawthorne, and Heather Young for showing our girls all that goes into archeology. Archeology is the study of ancient people and the things they left behind. Archeologists study artifacts from long ago to learn more about the past. 

Our girls were given a scenario in which an archeological site at the MagLab had been looted. The girls had to visit the site and document the damage, record the size of the illegal digging, recover artifacts in the distrubed area using scientific methods, and then work in the lab to analyze the artifacts and the confiscated human remains, and interpret the findings for a report. 

Tonight, we look forward to our annual SciGirls Reception! First we will hear from former SciGirl campers, Stephanie Reynolds, Janessa Sullivan, and Mei Maddox. These women have continued their love for science and will share with the audience their journeys since scigirls in the STEM fields. In addition, our girls are extremely anxious to get to view the news broadcasts they recorded at wFSU on Day 8. It will prove to be an amazing, but bittersweet night, as we say goodbye to another group of fabulous campers.

As for now, this is Brynn Wallace and Kelly Pagan signing out! We'll see you next summer! SciGirls ROCKS!

SciGirls1 2017 Archaeology

It’s here and we’re oh so sad to see these girls go. Ten days of interactive science activities plus ten days of creating friendships equal The SciGirls Experience! A big thank you to Dr. Hillary Conley, Dr. Kathryn Miyar, Megan Merrick, Brittney Shields, Megan Williamson, Edith Gregory, Heather Young, and Paige Hawthorne for a lesson in archaeology, a subject that incorporates the various aspects of STEM through the utilization of chemistry, mathematical formulas, statistical analyses, and ground penetrating radar. SciGirls acquired a new term this morning in learning that the spatial location of an artifact in a site is called provenience. Yep, that’s right. Archaeology is a mesh of not only STEM, but language as well. After the artifacts are located, the written documentation must be accurate for purposes of validity and reliability. This was a great way to end SciGirls.

As we worked to complete our poster presentations for tonight, we thought about many of the fun times over the past two weeks. Who knew you could mesh so well with people after only two weeks. Many of us now even have new friends to look forward to seeing on the first day of 6th grade at our new schools. We were extremely anxious to showcase our radio and television talents at the reception, but first we listened to our panelists share their current journeys in STEM. Kudos to Stephanie Reynolds, Janessa Sullivan, and Mei Maddow who we know will be trailblazers!

SciGirls I 2017 has come to an end and to our hosts, we extend our sincerest appreciation and thankfulness for making these two weeks EXTRAORDINARY!!!!! Just remember that Fun + Learning = SciGirls, and WE ROCK!

Keep the SciGirls spirit alive and come out to the next Science Cafe featuring our very own Dr. Roxanne Hughes. She will be discussing "breaking down the barriers that keep women out of science." This event will take place Tuesday, August 29 at Backwoods Bistro 6:15-7:30.

Scigirls1 at Leon Sinks

SciGirls survived the hike at Leon Sinks.

A real SciGirl has the willingness and courage to venture into the unknown.  Thus we got an introduction to karst topography this morning with our visit to the Leon Sinks Geological Area. Karst is a landscape that happens through deep erosion of a soft rock such as limestone, and it leads to the most unusual visual treats as water flows into, out of, and through the Swiss-cheese holes that occur within karst ( Joined by Greg Hitz, Cindy Fischler, and Mitra Khadka, we trekked a little over two miles through the Apalachicola National Forest to conduct water testing at Hammock Sinks.  Time flew so quickly that we didn’t get a chance to conduct water testing at Fischer Sink, but we were treated to the natural beauty found at Big Dismal Sink and Gopher Hole. 

Dr. Amy McKenna reminded us that science is all about fun.  Sharing a little bit of her journey into science, Dr. McKenna emphasized the importance of attentiveness as a student.  Holding a degree in analytical chemistry, it was obvious that this petroleum chemist knows a little bit about how to keep the SciGirls about surfactants.  With an activity that tested the solubility of milks, we tiptoed into the area of organic chemistry.  We discussed the hydrophobic (oil-loving) and hydrophilic (water-loving) nature of various substances.  Using food coloring, whole milk, heavy cream, skim milk, and Dawn dish soap, our afternoon was filled with colorful explosions of art. Today we were given permission to make a mess and make a mess we did - accompanied by many giggles, smiles, oohs, and aahs! 

Nine days down… only one to go!  But wait, the fun is not over.  Come back tomorrow to check out our last day.

SciGirls on the Beach!

SciGirls at the Beach with our tour guide, Jessica!

What a splashin' day!

Today, SciGirls 2 went to Panacea, FL, and visited the Gulf Marine Specimen Lab. Upon arrival, we met our tour guide, Jessica, and started to explore the touch tanks in the lab. The first tanks we saw were from the Arthropod phylum, including the Horse Conch, which it's shell, that can grow up to 2 feet, is our Florida State Shell. Who knew? In that area, we also saw a tulip snail interact with a scallop. The scallop can sense it's pray, and when placed by the tulip snail, quickly opens and  closes it's shell to "swim" away. We also got to see and hold seastars, urchins, crabs, and sponges.

Then, we made our way over to the looking tanks, where we saw nurse sharks, turtles, and large fish, including trigger fish and goliath grouper, which is an endangered fish. Jessica fed the nurse sharks and discussed how their barbles (like whiskers) help them sense food. We continued on our tour and saw a brown octopus, sting ray, and eels. We learned that the eels have a bacteria on their teeth that makes their bite more painful. 

From there, we went to see the sting ray, who made a mighty splash when given food, and lion fish. We learned that lion fish are very invasive because they breed quickly, have no natural predators, are venomous, and they eat a lot. They are becoming popular to eat, and can be purchased at Whole Foods.

We went outside and saw some turtles that are being rehabilitated. We were excited to find out that 4 of the turtles that had been rehabilitated, are being released next Thursday, August 3rd, from Bald Point at 3:00pm. 

Before we left the lab for part 2 of our tour, we saw fiddler crabs, which all of our girls fell in love with. We also played with some horseshoe crabs and learned that they have been around for more than 450 million years, even before the dinosaurs! We were amazed to find out that horseshoe crabs have 10 eyes, even some on their tails!

Part 2 of our tour was the "living dock." Here, girls got to pick up stringers and search for critters. They identified and discussed the critters in preparation for part 3 of our tour! Some of the animals we found were decorator crabs, brittle stars, sea squirts, cross jelly, hydroid, needle fish, zebra flat worms, tiny shrimp, and the crum of bread sponge, which smells like garlic!

After our lunch, we began phase 3 of our tour with the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab. We went to the marsh where we tried our hands at seine fishing. It was low tide, and the girls were able to wade out pretty far, and were still only up to their knees. When net fishing, we found a few critters, including small comb jellies, needlefish, grass shrimp, several juvenile fish, and a whole lot of fiddler crabs. It was very hard to pry our girls away from the fiddler crabs. We would not be suprised if some of our SciGirls brought home a pet fiddler!

Today was another wonderful SciGirls day! It's so hard to believe there is only one day left! Tomorrow, we take on some archeaology and research careers of interest and how to prepare for them, as our girls continue their education in high school and college. 

Don't forget about the reception tomorrow night to close out another fabulous SciGirls summer! See you all at 5:00 at wFSU, the program begins at 5:30!

SciGirls on the production team at WFSU

SciGirls on the production team at WFSU

Five, four, three, two, one. SciGirls were front and center as they showcased their presentation talents at WFSU this morning, but only after receiving a brief tour of the facility.  During this tour, we were taken down memory lane as we viewed pieces of the Kirk Collection.  The 300-piece Kirk collection at WFSU includes radios from the turn of the century through the mid-50’s, televisions and musical instruments.  We then bounced downstairs to begin the most exciting part of the morning: taping.   We broke into groups to record radio podcasts and video segments that will be highlighted during our closing program on Friday.  Come out and see and hear how SciGirls rock!

We then headed back to the MagLab for an awesome afternoon with Audra Hayden (Professional Civil Engineer) and Christin Gorman (Environmental Engineer) from EGS (Environmental Geotechnical Specialists) who were joined by Kristine Obenour, a Structural Engineeer with Barkley Engineering.  Their session, “SciGirls Get Their Hands Dirty”, was an activity in soil Identification.  The girls went a little bit beyond identifying just the basic types of gravel, sand, silt, and clay.  Soil particles can be defined based on the following characteristics:  gravel is larger than 2 mm and feels coarse; sand is 2-0.05 mm and feels gritty; silt ranges from 0.05 – 0.002 mm and feels like flour; and clay is smaller than 0.002 mm and feels sticky when wet.  Upon the mastery of this test, we then headed downstairs for a little “dig” in the earth to really unpack the wonderful soils of the earth.  Next was a quick detour around the MagLab building to build sand columns that would support the weight of each girl in the individual groups.  Finally, we bounded back upstairs to attempt to make simple bridges with wood stakes that would support two packs of baby wipes – all of this in five minutes.  Did you think we were finished? No. The ultimate task was to replicate a bridge structure from Leonardo da Vinci using only the wooden stakes that could support the weight of a person.  Again, we were given a time limit of five minutes.  Off to the races we were to build, build, build….  It’s so hard to believe, but there are only two days left for SciGirls I 2017. 

SciGirls with EGS (Environmental and Geotechnical Specialists) Inc.

SciGirls get their hands dirty with EGS!

 We started our day with EGS (Environmental and Geotechnical Specialists) Inc. The girls learned about the different disciplines within civil engineering from three female engineers: Audra Hayden, a certified Professional Engineer; Christin Gorman, a former teacher who went back to school and is now an Environmental Engineer; and Kristine Obenour, a graduate intern who discussed her experience building a concrete canoe.  The girls learned about soil and how it is often a mixture of varying amounts of gravel, sand, clay, and silt. After seeing how these look under the microscope, they got a chance to get a "hands on" experience identifying each one based on their characteristics.  The girls loved getting dirty!

We moved outside to practice identifying soil types in the field using hand augers. This was a great application of what the girls had just learned in the classroom!

Later, they were challenged to stand on a sand tower that had been packed into a frame and had the frame removed. It was a fun fail! Then they were given mesh squares to reinforce the sand and repeat the same process; this experiment was a success!  The girls were excited to take turns getting on their sand towers.

Lastly, the girls had an opportunity to build a span bridge. With little instruction and only a few pieces of wood, they were asked to build a structure from one table to another. After some quick testing, the girls concluded that their bridges were not able to support much weight.  The engineers showed the girls a tried-and-true design created by Leonardo da Vinci built with no hardware, adhesives, or center supports.  The girls were then able to return to their materials and attempt to recreate da Vinci's design. These bridges were much stronger.

We hiked over to wFSU where we learned about the history of radio and TV including a tour of the display of radios and televisions from the past while learning about the science involved and advancements made. Nipper, the RCA symbol, is always a topic of interest and many girls recalled seeing the same dog statue at Novey Animal Hospital earlier in the camp.

The group was then split in two, where girls got to experience first-hand production, either on radio or TV.  The radio group went to a sound room where they were recorded while discussing topics of their interest. They spent a lot of time discussing SciGirls camp, the importance of the camp being for girls only, and instances they've encountered where they felt underrepresented. This will be broadcast in the future on wFSU, FM 88.9. The other group got to experience the TV side of broadcasting, including producing, writing, interviewing, camera operation, and control room operation.  You will have a chance to see and hear some of their work on Friday at the concluding SciGirls reception, beginning at 5:30 at wFSU.

Today was an amazing day filled with many sciences! From engineering to media production, it couldn't get any better. Oh, wait! Tomorrow is another fun-filled day! See you tomorrow, as SciGirls dives into marine biology at the Gulf Marine Specimen Lab in Panacea.

SciGirls I at the Florida Center for Interactive Media

SciGirls I at the Florida Center for Interactive Media

Chopped! 30 Minute Meals! Good Eats!  Who could believe that SciGirls experienced all of these shows in a 90 minute presentation from Chef Paula in the Fresh from Florida demonstration kitchen this morning?  The smells of peppers being sautéed in butter, fresh dill that would be added to a dip, peppers in the blender, and zucchini bread in the oven started a day that was all about exploration.  No, we didn’t just enjoy a bevy of food samples, but we also found out some interesting facts concerning the foods that we enjoyed.  For instance, the chili peppers that were blended in the salsa contain the chemical capsaicin that is a determiner of the level of spiciness.  We also learned about the benefits of companion planting, which is when two vegetables that are beneficial to each other are planted next to each other.  So the next time you plant some tomatoes, consider planting basil also (bugs don’t like the smell of basil).    An extra special thank you to Chef Paula, Ms. Kristi, and Ms. Beth for making our morning brilliantly aromatic!

Our day continued with a return to the MagLab to complete a mini-research project on “Women in Physics”.  The girls worked diligently to find pieces of information on women in this field who have received little recognition for their contributions to the science.  Stay tuned for more to come on their investigation, as many felt they had not acquired enough information to share as of yet….

To end this day of discovery, we headed to the Florida Center for InterActive Media to get an understanding of the rate of progression of technology.  The staff worked very hard to set up innovative encounters:  projection mapping with Ms. Stephanie; drones and 360 video with Ms. Chelsea, Ms. Whitney, and Mr. Steve; artificial intelligence identifier with Mr. Drew; and presence in virtual reality with Mr. Cody.  Unfortunately, Mr. Andrew could not join us today, but we were thinking about him!  There’s nothing better than a SciGirls day…. well except another SciGirls day.  SciGirls voices keep getting stronger!!!!!

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