WCS members had the pleasure to attend lunch and dinner with Mangels Lecture speaker Donna Nelson last week. Donna also gave some excellent talks about both the Nelson Diversity Surveys and her work as a science adviser for Breaking Bad. Special thanks to former WCS president Beth Mundy for nominating this speaker and coordinating the visit!
This year we had two great workshops at the Seattle Expanding Your Horizons (SEYH) conference on March 12th!
The Mars Rover workshop (gallery below) had an exciting day helping middle school students characterize possible Mars rocks with microscopes, magnets, chemical reactions, and flames.
Thanks to both the Mars Rover team and the Chemistry CSI team for volunteering this year!
Science Night was an exciting night filled with kids who really LOVE coloring. The beginning was a slow with not that many kids showing up, but suddenly the table swamped with kids! That was the shocking part, but we were all worked hard to ensure everything went well.
Photos courtesy of Jeffrey Buenaflor.
Photos from the UW Bothell Inspire STEM Festival on October 10th, where we taught students about chromatography by making coffee filter art. All photos by Jeffrey Buenaflor.
This past week, WCS kicked off the start of a new academic year by hanging out with familiar faces and meeting some new ones. The ice cream social was a chance to catch up with friends we’ve missed over the summer and to network with faculty new to campus. WCS adviser Brandi Cossairt gave a great introduction to the role of our group at UW and the continuing need for organizations like ours in the academic community. If you didn’t have a chance to come, we still hope to see you at our next meeting, coming soon! (After all, we’ve still got some ice cream to finish.) Photos by Rae Eaton
Photos from the Shoreline STEM Festival on May 9th, where we taught students and their families about nanotechnology by making rainbow thin-film bookmarks. All photos by Jeffrey Buenaflor.
March 14th brought young women and volunteers from around the area to Seattle University for another year of Seattle Expanding Your Horizons (SEYH). During 50 minute workshops, groups of middle school girls could try anything from designing planes to extracting their own DNA. This year, WCS ran last year’s CSI workshop as well as a new workshop on astrochemistry and the Mars rover. In our workshops, girls used qualitative chemistry tests and physical observations to figure out answers to two questions: who dumped toxic waste into the Puget Sound, or could any of the rocks collected at a crater site have come from Mars?
One of the best things about our organization, is the opportunity not only to participate in outreach programs but also to develop our own projects. When it was first mentioned that we had enough people interested in SEYH to develop a second workshop, I knew I wanted to work on a Mars rover workshop, but didn’t have any ideas where to begin. But with the help of some incredibly cool and very inventive members (a huge shout out to VP Heidi, who guided me through the whole process and was generally the best co-leader), we pulled together a great workshop that not only let the girls do science experiments but also tied those experiments to real tests that Curiosity did on Mars. And, much like real science, we designed a workshop that didn’t have a correct answer, which let everyone draw their own conclusions about which rock could be from Mars.
I think the fun we had making the workshop definitely came through in the final result. As a member of the astrochemistry workshop, I got to talk about lasers and flame tests all morning. I heard a lot of “whoa”s, “cool”s, and even “shiny”s that day (it helped that one of the rock samples sprinkled rock glitter over your hands even time you touched it). Even if they learned nothing else that day, I hope we showed people that science comes in many different forms, most of them pretty fun.
So thanks to Brigit Miller, Kimberly Davidson, Kimberly Hartstein, Kalkena Sivanesam, Olivia Lenz and Jessica Wittman, who all volunteered with the CSI workshop, and Heidi Nelson, Zuzana Culakova, Kira Hughes, Katie Corp, Beth Mundy, Scott Rayermann, and Addie Kingsland for their work designing and/or running the Mars rover workshop.