Middle school girls use technology to investigate human impact on environment

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Jul 5, 2012) — 


Columbus, Ohio (July 5, 2012) - At this year's Young Women's Summer Intitute, 15 middle school girls from around Ohio will be exploring complex environmental watershed issues that impact the state. 

The Ohio Supercomputer Center is hosting the annual, weeklong residential program from July 8-14, 2012. By providing students with a real-world scientific problem and teaching them how to use the latest computational technology to solve it, the program serves as a way for middle school girls to develop skills and interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Throughout the week, the students also will hear about different career opportunities from women who work in the diverse STEM industries. 

"We hope that by sparking interest in STEM fields now, their interest will carry on throughout their lives," said Young Women's Summer Institute (YWSI) Director Steve Gordon. "Our goal is to build these young women's confidence for pursuing STEM careers, even though they are typically perceived as male-dominated fields." 

Students will investigate the quality of several Ohio watersheds through physical observation by measuring organism, analyzine water chemistry, as well as through computer modeling and analysis. After learning how to test the chemical properties of streams, they will visit Darby Creek, a state and national scenic river southeast of Columbus, test water samples, and compare the results to their group's watershed project, based on Ohio Environmental Protection Agency data. During the final ceremony at OSC, the girls will present their findings to an audience of scientists, OSU administrators, parents, teachers, and staff. Research shows that cultivating STEM interest at an early age enables the leadership abilities of the young women and provides them with a competitive edge in future educational and professional pursuits.

"The projects are centered around giving students a challenging and exciting problem to solve," said Gordon. "They get to look at a practical science issue and relate it to real-world data."

Several Ohio teachers selected for the program benefit by gaining experience to project-based teaching, using modeling programs to guide research and learning to effectively integrate technology into classroom activities. 

The Center provides additional education programs for STEM careers throuch OSC's Ralph Regula School of Computational Science. This year more than 50 K-12 students will participate in programs that include YWSI, Summer Insitute, and internships for Columbus Metro High School students. 

YWSI is a program of the center's Ralph Regula School of Computational Science and was sponsored this year by Battelle, American Electric Power, Procter & Gamble, Insight, The Ohio State University Development Fund, The Ohio State University Campus Campaign and OSC. For more on this year's program, visit www.osc.edu/education/ywsi or follow updates on Facebook at the "Young Women's Summer Institute" page or search for #OhioYWSI on Twitter. 


This year, 15 students were selected for Young Women's Summer Insitute 2012. They are:

Sophia Abukamail, Athens Middle School
Julia Ambrozy, Parkersburg Catholic Elementary
Prapti Dalal, New Albany Middle School
Allison Gouge, Kettering Middle School
Madison Layer, Kettering Middle School
Brooklyn Lee, Kettering Middle School
Jasmine Lee, Columbus Academy
Akanksha Malhotra, Sells Middle School
Annie Miner, Bowling Green Middle School
Shreyah Mohanselvan, Columbus Academy
Maya Neidhart, Alexander Middle School
Neelima Paleti, The Wellington School
Cassandra Robbins, The Wellington School
Annalese Seabrook, Community Charter School of Columbus
Liz Webb, Bowling Green Middle School

Teachers participating in Young Women's Summer Institute 2012 are:

Victoria Cook, Kettering
Katie Hendrickson, Albany
Kristi Krupp, Bowling Green
Rachel Mici, Upper Arlington
Kim Shiplett, Groveport Madison
Paula Williams, Bowling Green