In 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to encourage and make it easier for women and girls to enter careers in STEM.
One of the results of this adoption was the UN’s creation of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, which is celebrated on Feb. 11 of every year.
To play their part in furthering this initiative, ESU students and faculty from six science departments—mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, computer security, and psychology—hosted their own event celebrating Women and Girls in Science Day.
Professor Maria Cohen, an instructor in the physics department, said the goal of the event was, “to bring girls together that are interested in science and have them meet our female science majors and to see that we have female faculty here.”
Six stations were set up in the ground floor of the Science & Technology Center where students did activities relating to the six sciences represented.
They learned about drawing patterns through string art at the mathematics station; constructed DNA double helices with Twizzlers, marshmallows, and toothpicks; glued raw pasta to paper to resemble a human skeleton; learned about sound waves from our physics students; created paper ciphers to use for secret messages; and created Rorschach Inkblot Tests with paint and paper.
Many of the stations also had visuals set up that featured famous women in STEM. These displays featured a myriad of women scientists including Marie Curie and Barbara McClintock and modern women like Jane Goodall and Anne Wojcicki, the CEO, and co-founder of 23andMe.
Although this is the first year ESU has hosted an event celebrating women in STEM, Cohen said it is something she has wanted to do for several years.
When she heard about the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, she knew it was the perfect time to get local female students involved with the sciences at our university.
Developed by the UN, this year’s theme is Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth. ESU’s mathematics department set up a display at the event to show how mathematics serves the community.
Their display explained how ESU students in previous math classes used their knowledge to find or estimate essential numbers such as carbon emissions generated by students, faculty, and staff commuting to our campus as well as the value of the preserved land in Monroe County.
This data has been used by the ESU Sustainability Committee, Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC), and the United Way of Monroe County.
Many of the faculty, staff, and students involved in the Women’s and Science day hope that this is the first of many events to help empower women in STEM.
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