Friday, July 24, 2015

SciGirls I 2015 - The Finale

Even though these two weeks have whipped by, Don't Worry, Be Happy! SciGirls I 2015 has come to an end and let me tell you we went out in true science form. We started the morning with a mock excavation facilitated by Dr. Alex Parsons, Dr. Katie Miyar, Satin Bowman, Julia Aleszczyk, Megan Reed, Dr. Hillary Conley, and Shabria Williamston. This interactive experience taught the girls the basics behind an archeological dig as they took pictures of their sites, measured dug holes, flagged artifacts, and then recorded all of this information prior to collecting the items within their areas. What an awesome opportunity to 'replicate' a scene from the original Jurassic Park. With all due respect, the work of these ladies plays an important role in preserving our culture. After saying goodbye to our morning guests, we began eagerly preparing for our evening reception with guest panelist Dr. Charmane Caldwell, Lakshmi Bhaskaran, Sondra W. Lee, P.E., and Janessa Sullivan. On behalf of SciGirls I, we would like to say thanks to our volunteer scientists who unselfishly donated their time and materials, the parents who entrusted us with such delicate and precious gems, to Carlos, Roxanne, and Kim who hold as much enthusiasm as the campers, and to the campers who persevered through 2 extreme but fun packed weeks. We hate for it to end, but hopefully......we'll "See You Again."!!!!!!!

SciGirls 2: Day 10-Projects and SEAC

Can I just go ahead and say "Woah!" These past two weeks have flown by! We, Brynn, Colleen, and Kelly sincerely thank all of the girls for just being their awesome selves and their guardians for allowing them to participate in the camp; it truly was a blast. We started out the day by giving the girls a very open ended project; the theme of the project was to design a poster about their future career. Some girls included their possible future salaries and outline a map on how to achieve their dreams. I was surprised to see quite a few girls even research specific classes they would need to take. In addition, girls completed cost analysis to see whether and out-of-state school would be a good choice. We were delighted to see a range of future careers, from vets to graphic designers to a doctor specializing in gynecology and obstetrics! Whatever these ladies choose to do, we know that they will be some of the most successful ladies in their fields :) After a lunch we met with EGS/SAEC to complete archaeology dig and presentation. The girls learned a bit about archaeology and then headed outside to the mock dig site. The girls excavated different archeological remnants and collected data. When we got back inside we learned about the different aspects of our female guests archaeologists careers. Doors open to the reception at 5 and it starts promply at 5:30; it is sure to be a special night. A special thanks to Carlos Villa and Roxanne Hughes for allowing us to do the camp once again!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

SciGirls I 2015 Day Nine

O what a beautiful morning, O what a beautiful day! A visit to Leon Sinks with Greg Hitz, hydrogeologist, was very enjoyable this year - no mosquitoes!!!!! We conducted water testing at two sites: Fisher Creek and Hammock Sink. There the girls tested the water for nitrates, clarity, ph, and we tried (although unsuccessfully) dissolved oxygen. Even though the walk was quite extensive, it was overshadowed with the splendid canopy provided by the natural shade of noble trees. From there we made a quick stop at the Department of Environmental Protection (thanks Jackie for the water test kits and the bottle rocket launcher). Then we shuttled over to the UF/IFAS North Florida Research & Education Center in Quincy. Did you know that by 2050, the world population is estimated to be around 9 billion people? The research facility is home to scientists who may cover any of the following areas: Agronomy, Plant Pathology, Entomology, Horticulture, Forestry, Soil Science, or Ecology. A SciGirls standing ovation goes to the ladies who took time out of their busy schedules to speak with us on their careers in Agricultural Science: Dr. Ann Blount, Dr. Cheryl Mackowiak, Dr. Holly Ober, Dr. Sheeja George, Dr. Christine Bliss, and Dr. Anna Osiecka. Dr. Bliss spoke specifically on carinata(Ethiopian mustard) which is being harvested to be used as jet fuel. We were amazed with the pictures of the Florida Bonneted Bat, only found in South Florida, presented by Dr. Ober who is a wildlife biologist. Dr. Osiecka provided the unique opportunity to see the Moringa oleifera (the drumstick tree), which can be used as food, in medicine, industry, agriculture, and horticulture. Yes, yes, yes, what an eventful day. We can't believe there is only one day left of SciGirls I 2015. And it promises to be more amazing than the first nine!

SciGirls 2: Day 9-Gulf Specimen Marine Lab

Today was a wet and exciting day; we went to the Gulf Specimen Marine Lab! We started the day exploring the different touch and 'look' tanks. In the touch tanks we looked at many different species of crabs, star fish, sand dollars, mollusks, and sea urchins. In some of the look tanks we saw red fish, black bass, loggerhead sea turtles, and nurse sharks! The girls especially liked observing 'finding Nemo' :) We moved back into touch tank territory and played with fiddler crab and my favorite, horseshoe crabs! From there we went to the dock to get more hands on experience! We collected many different species! For example, we collected sea walnuts, nudibranches, a teeny-tiny flounder, barnacles, sea squirts, and so many more. At this point in the day our girls were wore out and hungry; I definitely heard stomachs growling, so we took a lunch break to fuel up for seining. After lunch the girls went to the marsh and seined, which involved walking out in the gulf with a large, long net to collect more specimens. The fan favorite today was throwing anchovies back into the water; that's right parents today your SciGirl saved lives. Overall, today was a great day! We can't believe tomorrow is the last day of camp :( We can't wait to see everyone's families at the reception tomorrow night; 5:30 pm at WFSU, be there or be square!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

SciGirls I 2015 Day Eight

And five, four, three, two, one....Welcome to another broadcast of the SciGirls Network!!!! Believe it or not, but we had a chance to go behind the scenes at WFSU - both the television studios and the radio booths. Mike Dunn retired, so this year our tour guide was Mr. Paul Dam who was well versed and able to deliver just as much information in regards to the Kirk Radio collection. The girls were excited to have an opportunity to learn about website development, produce a television segment, conduct personal interviews, operate television cameras, and present a television broadcast. This experience left the SciGirls clamoring to see their final production, which unfortunately won't be revealed until Friday night during the SciGirls reception. The morning had passed so quickly before we realized we needed to jet back over to the Maglab for a great hands-on Paper Towel Roll Structure challenge with Ashley Anderson and Audra Hayden from Atkins and EGS respectively. The most important rule for this exercise was simple - read the directions. With 30 paper towel rolls and a roll of masking tape, the structures had to be at least two rolls high, constructed within an hour, and be able to hold at least 15 lbs. Two groups exceeded their projected amounts with weights of over 50 pounds. Move over people because future engineers were hard at work today. We concluded our day with the launching of our bottle rockets. Check out our blog to see the Twin Blaster 3000, the SG 600, and the Heagle fly/spiral through the air... Get the mosquito spray ready, because tomorrow we're off to the SINKS.

SciGirls II Day 8 - ATKINS/EGS and Chaos Towers

What a wonderful Wednesday! We started off the morning with ATKINS and EGS and we delved into engineering. We were treated to three fabulous female engineer guest speakers. In addition, we competed in an engineering challenge; the girls had a build the strongest tower they could using a role of masking tape and no more than 30 paper towel tubes. There were a tremendous amounts of problem solving skills being used. Each group came out with a phenomenal final tower, and the winning tower could hold over 100 pounds. Woaaaaaahhh! Having three engineer role models come in was a real treat for us, and then we were given 'swag bags' with a bunch of cool goodies insides including a color changing cup. After a lunch to refuel, we built chaos towers...kind of like a little roller coaster for a marble. Again, the girls had to put to use their critical thinking and problem solving skills. The towers came out amazing! The teachers loved seeing girls work through frustrations they encountered. I say this everyday, but here it goes was another great day! Tomorrow we go to the Gulf Specimen Lab, so make sure to dress cool, bring a hat, and an extra change of shoes! See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

SciGirls II Day 7 - FCIM and wFSU

Today SciGirls 2 went to the Florida Center for Interactive Media (FCIM) and took part in all parts of designing an app! The girls designed a game that they could play in three separate designs :-) We split into three separate groups audio, components, and graphics. In graphics we had our pictures taken and they were photo-shopped in the game! In audio we recorded our own voices which were tied to our characters in the game. In components we learned about programming and setting up a hard copy of the game. After the wonderful employees at FCIM put together all our different parts, we played our game!! Everyone can enjoy playing this game as long as you have access to the internet! The link is below. During our very own app play time, the SciGirls 2 teachers heard the girls' stomachs growling so we took a lunch break back at the Mag Lab. After fueling our bodies we headed over to WFSU. We were REALLY looking forward to this trip, because we could potentially end up on a real radio station or on camera at the reception this Friday. Before we started filming and recording we examined and learned about the Kirk collection at the WFSU lobby. Next we had the chance to record a short radio spot which will air at a later date and/or be behind the scenes in filming or be on camera! Both radio and television presented different challenges for us but we enjoyed both parts! On tomorrow's agenda: Atkins Engineering and Chaos Tower building challenge!

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