THE ENTERPRISE (a regional Washington newspaper)
Four Glenwood Students Compete in Science Camp
Four Glenwood High School students joined 25 high school girls from six other rural school districts in the state for a two-week science camp at the University of Washington campus.
The Rural Girls in Science camp was designed to encourage the girlsSarah Humphrey, Sara Russum, Josephine Hendricks and Erin Palmerin a number of hands-on science activities, some in university labs.
A rocket building and launching project and trips to the San Juans and to the Woodland Park Zoo were some of the items on the agenda for the girls, who were paired with professional scientist mentors during their stay there.
The four girls will be sophomores in the fall, project co-director Jane Bierman said, and the idea is to encourage them to sign up for science and math courses in high school to prepare them for post-secondary education and possible careers in the field.
NWCROW has sponsored science camps for rural girls for the last three years, and this year two camp graduatesundergraduate science majors at the UWserved as junior counselors. Teachers and counselors from the girls' schools joined the camp for the second week.
Claire Alexander represented Glenwood and participated in workshops on the teaching of science and mathematics. Darlene Humphrey attended the counseling workshop to learn about career opportunities in science, engineering, mathematics fields. Both workshops stressed how to encourage and support young women's interest in these fields.
In many ways, rural schools are ideal sites for teaching science; they are frequently surrounded by or located very near natural resources and phenomena that present unique opportunities for fieldwork, long-term experiments or projects which directly impact the community.
Teachers, however, may struggle to take advantage of these opportunities because they lack the necessary training or instructional materials to teach the local environment. As a result, rural girls may practice "real science" in their lives through agricultural activities or animal care, but rarely do their school experiences lead them to make the connection between "real science" and "school science."
The UW camp aims to bridge that gap. To demonstrate the Scientific Method, the girls were divided into four groups to participate in a two-week project.
Humphrey and Russum worked with invertebrates; Hendricks worked on a water quality project; and Palmer participated in a vegetation projectlater nicknamed "The Wild Iris."
This detailed study culminated in public presentations for the entire camp, as well as interested personnel for the University. Each of these girls represented Glenwood Schools well by actively participating in her group's presentation.
Simultaneously exposing the students to new science experiences, their teachers to new ways of teaching and their counselors to information about careers and mentoring, the program is attempting to ensure that the girls will get continuing support for their interests when they return to their rural homes.
This year for the first time, some of the support will come from a "virtual science club." Their schools have been hooked into the Internet, and the girls will be able to keep in touch with each other and with the UW staff to get online help on their projects.
While still at the University, the Glenwood students presented their ideas for the yearlong research project to the Glenwood staff. Matching the resources available in their hometown, the girls decided to study tree growth and water quality. Details of this study are yet to be ironed out, but will be ready for the next working meeting in mid-September at the UW Pack Forest in Eatonville.
All members of the camp will be meeting to refine their methodology and present their budget for the $3,000 funding they will receive to purchase equipment necessary for their project. A computer system donated by Microsoft will be available to aide the girls in their research project and maintain communication with their mentors and peers in varying locations across the state.
Next May, each of the groups will report on their projects at a special conference in Ellensburg. They have also been invited to the national meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is being held in Seattle next February.
Funding for the Rural Girls in Science Project is from the National Science Foundation.