Scientific careers open to women

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Young girls are interested in science, but as they grow up that interest fades. It's been called the “leaky pipe” phenomenon: talented young women who could be successful scientists go in other directions.

How can the leak be fixed? Some say it can be done by providing young women with more role models, more encouragement and more guidance in choosing classes that prepare them to meet requirements for science courses at the university level.

The Women in Science program at Bowling Green State University has been doing just that for more than 15 years. What began as Women in Science in 1988 was expanded to include math, engineering and technology in 1999.   More than 300 young women in grades 9 through 12 attend each year to learn about the exciting and rewarding scientific careers open to them.

The 2007 Women in Science, Math, Engineering and Technology High School Program will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 2, in BGSU's Bowen-Thompson Student Union. It is sponsored by Continuing & Extended Education, the Center for Environmental Programs and the Center of Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education: Opportunities for Success (COSMOS) at the University.

For the first time this year, hands-on activities are part of the agenda for the high school students. Successful professionals from Ohio and Michigan are volunteering their time to talk about their scientific careers and serve as role models for the high school girls.

According to keynote speaker Judy M. Nesmith, an associate professor of biology at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, “Everyone is a scientist.”   As part of her presentation she will demonstrate that most people know far more science than they realize.

Born and raised in Michigan, Nesmith received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Michigan State University. She coordinates the introductory biology labs and serves as course director for the Organismal and Environmental Biology course for biology majors.

She is a charter member of the Inquiry Institute, a group of natural science and science education instructors who have designed an acclaimed science education curriculum for pre-service elementary school teachers.

As a science teacher, Nesmith says, “It's my job to help people develop the science knowledge they already have, based on their life experiences, into a more complete understanding of science concepts.”

The program fee, which includes lunch, is $15 for students and $12 for accompanying adults.

For more information or to register, call BGSU Continuing & Extended Education at 419-372-8181 or 1-877-650-8165, or visit http://pace.bgsu.edu.

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(Posted February 21, 2007 )