Young women take part in weeklong seminar at DePauw

Saturday, June 28, 2008

DePauw Institute for Girls in Science, a week-long residential science camp, engaged young women in lab sessions, speakers and field trips in order to teach them about the field of science.

According to director and chair of Depauw's Biology Department Dana Dudle, 27 rising ninth grade girls attended the camp with DePauw undergraduate science majors serving as counselors. The girls participated in intensive lab sessions in a variety of sciences.

"We try to teach them to present and write for scientific audience," Dudle said.

On Friday, the campers displayed posters and gave presentations on specific lab sessions they performed. Participants Lydia Volland and Shannon Siegal presented their lab about biochemistry, specifically Green Fluorescent Protein.

"GFP can be used in medical work by testing it with other proteins to make medicines," Volland said.

Though their lab results were not perfect, the girls learned about the scientific process and mistakes that can be made.

"We messed up part of the lab," Siegal said "If we were to do it again, we would definitely go slower and take our time."

Volland would like to pursue a career in forensic science, and Siegal would like to become a veterinarian. Both girls said the camp enhanced their interest in scientific careers.

Campers Cecelia Nguyen and Alexis Tobias displayed their work in spectroscopy, the study of light. The campers specifically studied the elements helium and hydrogen.

Tobias said the most interesting event of the week was the portion on computer science.

"Everyone always wants to be game designers and stuff like that, but it always sounded stupid to me," Tobias said "After we studied computer science, I understand why everyone thinks its so cool."

Another experiment by Mackenzie Meyer and Sara Collenbaugh involved the effect on kinetic energy on crater size. By using paintballs and sand, the campers created their own crater.

Sponsored by DePauw's Academic Affairs, Women in Science and the Women's Center, DIGS was free of charge for the attendees. According to Dudle, more than half of the attendees were from Putnam County, most from Greencastle.

"They have had a great time, and we have kept them really busy," Dudle said. "We really tried to let them know what college level science is like."

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