At a March 22 outreach workshop aimed to encourage grade-school girls to pursue science and technology, Girl Scouts decoded secret messages, learned about fingerprints while studying their own and investigated a scene to earn scouting detective badges, among other activities.
“The purpose of the event is to reach out to the community and help girls explore opportunities and their own interests in science and technology,” said Yizhou Luo ’14, a member of the business team of the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (CUAUV) project team, which organized the event with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE).
“It was fun to learn about my fingerprints and what shapes it had. I like all science in general,” said Ella, a fourth grader. “It gave me an idea for a game at home. My brother will be the bad guy, and I will be the policeman, who will study fingerprints to solve the case.”
“My favorite activity today was observations,” said Natalie, also a fourth grader. The games were challenging and fun. I like science lab, and I hope to do more science in the future.”
While the girls were busy with the workshop, parents attended a presentation on science-related activities they can do at home with their children. “This way, the scouts can continue to learn about science in a setting beyond the classroom,” said Corey Chang ’15, leader of CUAUV’s business team.
The outreach workshop was first conducted in 2007 and has been conducted every year since. “Initially, we invited about three troops, and the event was very well received by both the girls and troop leaders. Since then, we've been working to expand and improve on the workshop year after year,” said Chang. Now in its seventh year, the workshop now hosts from 75 to 100 girls.
“We’re trying to get involved in more science-related activities with the Girl Scouts. This workshop is wonderful for that,” said Karie Cottrell, a Girl Scouts troop leader.
According to Luo and Chang, SWE and CUAUV organize several such outreach programs throughout the year. Each year, CUAUV holds an daylong conference for girls from grades 7 to 9 and a summer daylong for high school students in the Elmira and Groton Areas. The programs are not all limited to girls. A workshop for Boy Scouts will be conducted in April, where they will build and test small remote-controlled submarines.
“The world is looking for bright minds to make the next technological and scientific breakthroughs, so we want to do our part in providing kids with opportunities to get excited and passionate about science,” said Chang.
Sushmitha Krishnamoorthy ’17 is a writer intern for the Cornell Chronicle.