Annual Chicks in Science event slated for April 25
April 14, 2015
Laura Gittings-Carlson, Extended Campus, 896-5882
Carmen Price, University Relations and Communications, 657-2269
The eighth annual extravaganza aims to crack stereotypes on STEM careers for girls
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — STEM education is the highlight of an all-girls event on April 25 at Montana State University Billings, where grade and middle school girls can get a taste of what science, technology, engineering and mathematics have to offer.
Chicks in Science is a one-day science and technology extravaganza that provides hands-on and minds-on interactive activities to introduce girls in grades 4 through 8 to various careers in STEM-related fields. It is free and open to the public, but is especially designed for young girls.
The eighth annual event will run from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Alterowitz Gymnasium at MSUB’s four-year campus.
“Chicks in Science works to breach the psychological barriers, gender expectations and the ‘coolness’ factors that can stop girls from entering STEM-related fields,” Laura Gittings-Carlson, MSUB Extended Campus continuing education program developer, said. “The event strives to abolish those negative and fearful attitudes about math and science and discredit the stereotype of the ‘nerdy’ scientist.
What started with a few hundred participants in its first year, the STEM extravaganza now attracts more than 2,000 people, including 250 volunteers and 50 interactive exhibits set up to engage and pique girls’ interest in fields of STEM.
“The event is all about cultivating an interest in STEM among young girls and employing promising practices for the future,” Gittings-Carlson said. “We are helping shape the next generation science standards.”
Students take part in hands-on experiments and demonstrations to see science, technology, engineering and math in action. The interactive booths run the gamut, from careers in space and computer science to those in medicine, aviation, architecture and petroleum engineering.
Many of the booths feature professional women working in those careers, giving girls a chance to build relationships and see by example that "being cool and smart coincides.”
Chicks in Science cultivates this interest among girls by planting seeds by motivating, inspiring and empowering girls at a very impressionable age to recognize the diverse and endless opportunities available to them in the STEM fields.
The event was developed through the MSUB Extended Campus “Kids on Campus” program to bring our university, community organizations and leaders together to leverage resources, share information and exemplary practices, and to plan strategically to expand STEM-related opportunities for girls.
The program will facilitate an environment in which girls can speak with featured mentors during the STEM Stars event from 11 to 11:45 a.m. in the lower gym. STEM Stars include Lowell Observatory astronomer Dr. Deidre Hunter, environmental specialist with the U.S. Department of Interior Christina Gomer, STREAM project manager Lisa Scott, and MSUB assistant professor of engineering Katey Plymesser.
On Friday, April 24, Dr. Deidre Hunter, Lowell Observatory astronomer, will host an astronomy slide talk in MSUB’s Petro Theatre at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit msubillings.edu/girls or call MSUB Extended Campus at 406-896-5890.