Women in STEM club catalyzes curiosity in Lower School students
On Saturday, March 26, a group of Lab students returned to campus on their weekend for a very different learning experience. Unlike most days in the classroom, the Lower School students were being taught by fellow students from the U-High Women in STEM club. Through demonstrations that involved candle-powered suction cups and bubbling bottles, Science Saturday sparked a spirit of scientific inquiry in the Historic Campus’ youngest learners.
“We change up the experiments every event,” explains one of Science Saturday’s organizers, eleventh-grader Serena Thomas, “but at this Science Saturday we did a capillary action experiment, a hot-cold water density experiment, a rising water experiment, and an elephant toothpaste experiment.” After each experiment, the High School students explained the scientific concepts behind what their audience just witnessed and answered questions from the younger students.
While the students learned about water cohesion and hydrogen bonds, equally important connections formed between the participants. Thomas finds this part of the event “extremely important because it shows the Lower School students that there is a big community for them in the high school that is willing to help teach them to succeed.” The excitement that the Women in STEM club members have for their subject matter was contagious: “I think one particular highlight from the event,” describes Thomas, “was that as we were all leaving, three different students asked me when the next Science Saturday event would be. That was really special to me.”
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, women still only make up 27% of the STEM workforce. That’s one reason it’s important to let young children of any gender receive the mentorship provided by the members of the Women in STEM club. Thomas hopes these Science Saturday events can provide inspiration for younger students in the Lab community, saying, “we are giving these Lower School students people they can look up to, so that they can be emboldened to continue learning about science and do what they are interested in.”
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