Monday, September 18, 2017

Science Alive 2017

Nearly 200 Girl Scouts spent the day exploring the world of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) during Science Alive, an annual event hosted by Norfolk State University. Now in its eighth year, Science Alive gives Girl Scouts the chance to explore and discover their own interests in STEM through workshops facilitated by Norfolk State University students and faculty.

A highlight of the day for the Girl Scout Brownies, second and third graders, was the chemistry workshop where they made color-changing milk with dish soap and food coloring and concocted their own slime. The Girl Scout Brownies also enjoyed making geometric shapes out of marshmallows and toothpicks and learning about nutrition. Older Girl Scouts participated in workshops where they explored the world of nanotechnology and learned about physics while folding and flying paper airplanes and building protective devices to house eggs for an egg-drop experiment. There was also a civil engineering workshop, where girls built wooden bridges.

Dr. Rasha Morsi, professor of electrical and electronics engineering and director of the Creative Gaming and Simulation Lab at Norfolk State University, took a lead role in organizing Science Alive this year. Dr. Morsi previously served on the board of directors for Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast, and she has remained an active volunteer with the organization through her assistance with Science Alive.

“I have a passion for education and getting girls interested in science,” Dr. Morsi said. “It is so rewarding to see girls’ eyes light up when they learn something new. I hope they get that spark at Science Alive and learn that they can do anything that they want to do.

In today’s world, where women comprise 48 percent of the U.S. workforce but just 24 percent of STEM workers, Girl Scouts is working to develop a more equitable perception of the relative abilities of men and women in STEM. Through hands-on STEM events, such as Science Alive, girls are developing self-confidence related to STEM, as well as their confidence overall. In addition, according to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls indicate that their ability to build and design things, think of different ways to solve a problem and research a problem improved through their participation in Girl Scout STEM programs.

Girl Scouts is committed to providing opportunities to engage girls in STEM and scientific reasoning and allow them to apply concepts learned school in new ways. Upcoming STEM events hosted by Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast include Engineering Women on October 14 at the ODU Peninsula Center and Girls STEAM Ahead on October 21 at Nauticus in Norfolk. All girls are welcome to attend, even those who are not currently members of Girl Scouts.