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MU Science Club Introduces Middle School Girls to Science Wonders

Thursday, April 10, 2014
Story and photos by Bob Brown '15
“I want to be a doctor now,” exclaimed Rose Gennari, a sixth grader from Arlington. She was one of 26 girls from Gunston Middle School in Arlington, VA, who recently visited Marymount University for Introducing Girls to Science Day. The event, organized by the university’s Science Club, was designed to encourage more girls to become involved in the sciences.

Dr. Eric Bubar, Marymount assistant professor of physics and Science Club advisor, stated that there is a severe lack of girls in science. He explained, “They tend to drop out, transfer to other fields, or be intimidated by the male-dominated field. We want to get them involved early and encourage them when they have a natural interest.”

This is the second year that Marymount’s Science Club has held the day-long event. Last year, the Club reached out to Gunston Middle School proposing the annual event. Luzdary Chamorro, a Gunston sixth grade teacher, noted that the first year was such a success that they asked to bring more children this year. She said, “We want to inspire girls to get into the science fields.”

Sixth-grader Gennari has long had an interest in astronomy. However, when Dr. Barbara Kreutzer, professor of Biology, showed the students how to isolate their own DNA from cheek cells, the field of medicine suddenly beckoned as another great option. She was also excited to see fire dance to musical sound waves in a Reubens’ flame tube.
The girls also made speakers from plastic cups, had a hair-raising experience when touching a Van de Graaff generator, and enjoyed liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Soha Sohail, a sophomore biology/pre-med major, pointed out, “We need a lot of girls to go into science fields. It’s our job as young scientists to help introduce these options and career paths to them as early as we can.”
– Elizabeth Bui ʼ14 (right), a biology major and secretary of MU’s Science Club, helps sixth grader Dayana Alvarado separate her DNA to place in a necklace.
PHOTO 2 – Joanna Sandly guides the girls through the DNA experiment.
PHOTO 3 – Dr. Barbara Kreuzer leads the DNA project, explaining the process step-by-step.