Eighteen of Ohio’s brightest middle school girls jump-started their careers in math and science at The Young Women’s Summer Institute, (YWSI) hosted by Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) August 1-7.
The weeklong program engaged girls in a unique scientific problem while teaching them computer skills. In its fifth year, YWSI served as a great introduction to the fields of science, math, and computing.
YWSI participants and seven Ohio middle school teachers traveled to Darby Creek where they conducted chemical and streamside water quality testing. This gave them hands-on experience to apply to their research on other Ohio watersheds. Six groups, with the help of a teacher, analyzed data from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, exploring how pollution, dissolved oxygen, and other environmental issues influence the streams and creeks that run directly into our water supply.
“My favorite things about YWSI2004 were meeting new people, working with computers, and learning,” said one of this year’s students who was anonymously surveyed. Other students noted small group work and the trip to Darby Creek as their favorite parts of YWSI.
Ohio rivers and creeks investigated by the YWSI 2004 girls included the Big Walnut Watershed, the Upper Great Miami River, Rocky River Watershed, Scioto Bokes Watershed, Upper Scioto Watershed, and Great Miami Loramie Creek.
In addition to their projects, the girls met women with careers in math and science such as Mary Juhas, OSU College of Engineering Senior Assistant Dean. Juhas emphasized the important strengths women contribute to science, math, and engineering. She also reminded the girls that they were expected to be responsible members of “the club of girls who like science and math.”
“The lecture that Mary C. Juhas gave was really inspiring,” said another surveyed student .
Following the project presentations at the YWSI Closing Ceremonies August 7, YWSI Co-Director Leslie Southern reminded the girls a second time of their responsibilities to “the club.”
“Remember to ask questions, have pride, and to recruit others into the club,” said Southern.
With the help of this year’s YWSI participants, “the club” should continue to grow each year.
OSC is Ohio's high performance computing and networking center. The Center provides scientific computing, networking, educational outreach, and information technology resources to state and national high performance computing and networking groups. OSC empowers its academic, industrial, and government partners to make Ohio the education and technology state of the future. More information on OSC can be found at www.osc.edu.