Middle school girls to learn science, math, technology skills

Jul 14, 2011


COLUMBUS – July 14, 2011 – The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) has selected 15 middle school students to explore and address complex environmental watershed issues that impact the state as participants at the twelfth annual Young Women’s Summer Institute.

OSC started YWSI in 2000 to help young women develop a strong interest in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, subjects and careers by engaging them practical, interesting scientific studies. The students also will hear from women who work in diverse industries throughout the week about different career opportunities.

“We provide the YWSI participants with an immersive experience,” said Kathryn Kelley, director of YWSI. “Not only do the girls engage in hands-on investigation of an issue with real-life impacts, they also are surrounded by female mentors who guide them through every step of the process.”

Throughout the weeklong residential program, students learn to test the chemical properties of streams, take field trips to the stream and Ohio State University research labs and stay in residence halls on the OSU campus. Students will learn how to apply the scientific method to analyze the health of Ohio watersheds, through both physical observation and computer modeling and analysis.

The students will visit Darby Creek, a state and national scenic river southeast of Columbus, and compare the test results obtained on-site to their group’s watershed projects, 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.

Through annual surveys and longitudinal studies conducted in 2004 and 2010, YWSI participants have indicated that the program positively influenced them. During the most recent study, approximately 74 percent of the students who participated in YWSI indicated that their interest in science and/or math classes increased since their participation in the program; more than 75 percent of the participants conveyed they had greater confidence in math and science classes since participating in YWSI.

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

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, Dana Rogers, The Ohio State University Campus Campaign and OSC. For more information about the YWSI program for sixth- and seventh-grade girls, please visit www.ywsi.org.

Editors: The list below, arranged by last name, identifies the students and teachers who will participate in YWSI this year.

2011 YWSI participating students:

Rama Balasubramaniam, Sells Middle School
Kayla Caswell, Fallen Timbers Middle School
Eliza Fisher, St. Vincent Elementary
Kristiana Gresham, Davis Middle School
Melissa Gu, Olentangy Liberty Middle School
Autumn Harvey, Kettering Middle School
Ashwini Kamath, Wilson Elementary
Anitra Karthic, New Albany Middle School
Mikayla Knerr, Village Academy School
Amelia Lee, Henry Karrer Middle School
Ellora Majumber, Grizzell Middle School
Madeline Smith, Kettering Middle School
Salmika Wairegi, Berwick Alternative Elementary School
Athena Williams, Licking Heights Middle School
Annie Zou, Phoenix Middle School

2011 YWSI participating teachers:

Katie Hendrickson, Athens Middle School
Laura Kramer, Calumet Christian School
Kristi Krupp, Bowling Green Middle School
Jenny Lang, Alexander Local Schools
Rachel Micic, Upper Arlington High School
Paula Williams, Bowling Green Middle School (lead teacher)

2011 YWSI participating chaperones:
Jordan Piening, The Ohio State University
Kersey Schott, The Ohio State University

Media Inquiries:
Kathryn Kelley, Senior Director of Outreach, Ohio Supercomputer Center, 614-292-6067, kkelley@osc.edu
Jamie Abel, Director of Media and Communications, Ohio Supercomputer Center, 614-292-6495, jabel@osc.edu


The Ohio Supercomputer Center (OSC) is a catalytic partner of Ohio universities and industries, providing a reliable high performance computing and high performance networking infrastructure for a diverse statewide/regional community including education, academic research, industry, and state government. Funded by the Ohio Board of Regents, OSC promotes and stimulates computational research and education in order to act as a key enabler for the state's aspirations in advanced technology, information systems, and advanced industries. For more, visit www.osc.edu.

The Ralph Regula School of Computational Science is a statewide, virtual school focused on computational science. It is a collaborative effort of the Ohio Board of Regents, Ohio Supercomputer Center, Ohio Learning Network and Ohio's colleges and universities. The school acts as a coordinating entity for a variety of computational science education activities aimed at making education in computational science available to students across Ohio, as well as to workers seeking continuing education. For additional information, visit www.rrscs.org.