MSUB annual event promotes STEM education among girls
April 4, 2016
Laura Gittings-Carlson, Extended Campus, 896-5882
Carmen Price, University Relations and Communications, 657-2266
Story by Blair Koch, University Relations and Communications intern
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The event may have a new name and some updated features but this year’s Girls-n-Science (formerly Chicks in Science) promises to be just as exciting as ever.
Staying true to its mission, the event will highlight STEM education on April 16 at Montana State University Billings and give grade and middle schools girls hands on experience with science, technology, engineering and math. While the event is designed for young girls, the event is free and open to everyone.
“This is really geared to introduce young girls to all kinds of neat technology in a very hands-on way through interactive activities, and also to introduce young girls to various careers in STEM fields,” said Laura Gittings-Carlson, Extended Campus’ continuing education program developer.
She indicated the event has grown from 250 attendees the first year to about 900 last year.
New to Girls-n-Science is the addition of the STEM Stars program, a special feature just for 7th and 8th graders, which will give participants an opportunity to explore three different 45-minute engaging learning activities in small groups. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and runs to noon in the MSUB Liberal Arts building. Space is limited to just 60 girls and you must register.
During the STEM Stars event, participants will hear from Dr. Katey Plymesser, MSUB assistant professor of engineering, during a session called “Hour of Code!” This will be an introduction to computer science, designed to demystify coding to show that anyone can do it.
Another session, “Why can’t we cure HIV,” will be led by Dr. Molly Basta, Rocky Mountain College assistant professor of biology. This activity will demonstrate the course of an HIV infection and what happens to patients when given antiviral medications. Students will get to simulate HIV genome replication by coloring paper strips while fostering an interest in research, virology, pharmacology and medicine.
Lastly, Dr. Claire Oakley, program director for population health services with Riverstone Health will present, “What Does our Blood Pressure Tell Us?” Along with several RMC physician assistant students, this activity will give the girls a chance to measure their blood pressure before and after exercise and then discuss the data collected.
The general Girls-n-Science session begins at 12:30 p.m. and runs until 4 p.m. at the MSUB Alterowitz Gym.
Gittings-Carlson said there will be about 50 booths featured, with everything from robot wars to lasers and human anatomy to explore.
There will even be a rock climbing wall, hosted by the MSUB Outdoor Adventure Leadership program. “They do a phenomenal job. It’s not just about the activity, but teaching what muscles are used and all of the science behind it,” Gittings-Carlson said.
For more information or to register for STEM Stars visit msubillings.edu/girls