WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - MSU Texas held its 21st Math, Science & U Girls Conference on Nov. 16 to give junior high girls the chance to experience different science, math and engineering workshops.
“It allows girls the chance to experience a lot of different fields in science, math and engineering, to get to do some hands on activities and to perhaps think about going on to do science in high school and in college,” Dr. Marcy Brown Marsden, dean of the McCoy College of Science, Mathematics and Engineering, said.
MSU Texas offered four different workshops that rotated through various subjects including mathematics, computer science, chemistry and engineering.
“Frequently girls, especially this age group, will discern out of science, math and engineering sometimes because of some of the challenges," Marsden said. "It challenges everyone. I think sometimes it’s peer pressure that causes them to drop out of science and math so this way they’re with their peers. They’re with other girls so they have a chance to experience this environment with other young women who want to do science and math.”
One of the workshops had the students create a bracelet that said their name in binary.
“They also have the chance to say ‘where would this lead me and what would I do,'" Marsden said. "We hope that it helps to retain that. We find that before versus after the conference, more girls have an interest in going on in science and math.”
The workshops were titled “Plastic on the Ground. Plastic in the Sky?," Solidworks," “How to Tell an Orange from a Doughnut” and “01000010 is for Binary.”
“The girls get to do some hands-on activities in each of the workshops,” Dr. Catherine Stringfellow, Professor and Chair of Computer Science at the McCoy College of Science, Mathematics and Engineering. "We have women from the community who are scientists, mathematicians or engineers themselves or university students that are majoring in fields such as engineering. [They] are actually putting on the workshops so the girls can actually see role models, that women can do these types of careers and see some of the opportunities that are available to them.”
Stringfellow said she has heard from students that are now in college that attended the conferences before and how it helped peak their career interests.
“We have a couple of teachers here today who actually attended the girls conference a few years ago," Stringfellow said. "So clearly I think the conference is working and that women are choosing to go into these fields after they’ve been exposed to our workshop and all of the wonderful things you can do in the sciences and math.”