April is a busy month for STEM majors, starting off with Science Day (pics here!), and ending right before exams. The weekend of April 22 was busy as well, as the College hosted the Wooster community Expanding Your Horizons workshop for fifth and sixth grade girls, run entirely by local women in STEM, including many CoW faculty and students. The workshop is composed of various science and math themed activates, each designed to encourage young women to pursue STEM. This year there were more than 20 sessions that the girls could sign up for!
Last year, I had volunteered for the Humpty Dumpty session, the physics focused session of Expanding Your Horizons. I enjoyed it so much I volunteered again! The goal of the session is to build a protective device for your egg using the limited amount of materials provided. Of course, rainbow markers are also available so you can draw a face on your egg and name it. Some names from this year include Terminator, Survivor, and Scramblable.
After the teams are done building, the eggs inside their devices are brought up to the third floor of Taylor, and dropped to the ground, hopefully safe and sound. Last year was windy, and we had a new record of an egg flying up to the roof and never coming down. Though we did not have any runaway eggs this year, we did have a record number of surviving eggs.
As a woman in STEM, I wish I had more opportunities like this growing up. The activities themselves are so exciting that I would happily participate even now. But more important, it provides a safe and creative space for young women to experiment science. Before coming to college, all of my science teachers were men, and I have had many, many experiences where I was the only woman in the room. Too many people have had similar experiences. So hopefully, we have encouraged more women to join us in STEM fields!
The end of the Expanding Your Horizons workshop marked the beginning of Wooster’s March for Science, where a diverse group of people, including former Wooster Physics Professor Dr. Garg, gave speeches and stood to raise awareness of the importance of science. As I said at the start, April is a busy month for STEM!
Note from Dr. Lehman — For another perspective on Expanding Your Horizons and the Wooster March for Science, check out the prolific bloggers from Wooster’s Geology Department! My favorite part is Dr. Wilson’s caption identifying “ace Wooster physicist and former dean Dr. Shila Garg.”