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Engineering students promote science to members of local Girl Scout troop

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) promotes engineering as a desirable career option for females.

Girl Scouts of America is devoted to helping girls build character and skills for success in the real world.

These two organizations and their stated goals overlapped recently when a group of students from the Georgia Southern University section of the SWE attended a meeting of Girl Scout Troop 064.

In an effort to increase the girls’ interest in science and technology, the University students helped the troop perform a series of experiments that described several basic scientific principles.

Fifteen scouts in grades four through six participated in the event, which was held on Tuesday evening, Nov. 27, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on Highway 67 in Statesboro.

‘We wanted to do something to get these girls excited about science and technology,” said Shonda Bernadin, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology at Georgia Southern and the advisor for the SWE section at the University.

‘Studies have shown that there has been a declining interest among American students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, but we want the girls to know about all of the possibilities that exist for them.”

SWE was represented at the Girl Scout meeting by Jaklyn Edelstein, a mechanical engineering major from Fayetteville, Ga.; Mwanje ‘Mo” Kiggwe, a chemical engineering major from Duluth, Ga.; Randall Ricketson, a civil engineering major from Locust Grove, Ga.; and Laura Settle, a mechanical engineering major from Richmond Hill, Ga.

Together, Bernadin and the Georgia Southern students helped the Girl Scouts perform the following experiments:

  • Deep Sea Divers – the principles of flotation, air pressure and density were introduced during this activity. Using balloons, paperclips and weights, the girls built their own divers and placed them in a one-liter bottle. This session also included some measurement and data collection.
  • Night and Day – each girl created her own model of the earth, which spun on its axis and changed its seasonal position relative to the sun. The girls observed the cause-and-effect relationship that these movements have on days and nights, years and their lives.
  • Periscopes – this activity introduced the girls to the basic properties of reflection. After experimenting with mirrors that reflected geometric shapes and symmetrical words and images, each girl constructed her own periscope and figured out how to apply the tool.
  • The Lighthouse – the girls built lamp assemblies, created their own lighthouses, and then studied the behavior and properties of the emerging rays of light. The experiment included the reflection, refraction and convergence of the light rays.

‘These experiments helped to reinforce the girls’ knowledge of science by providing a fun and exciting atmosphere for learning,” Bernadin said. ‘The girls did a great job in performing their experiments, and the student leaders were excellent in engaging the girls, guiding them through the experiments and explaining the main concepts.”

‘We were thrilled to have the Georgia Southern students do this for us,” said Louise Fechter, the leader for Girl Scout Troop 064. ‘We are trying to bring up strong girls, and increasing their interest in science is one way of helping them reach their potential.”

Georgia Southern University, a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University, offers more than 120 degree programs serving nearly 17,000 students. Through eight colleges, the University offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs built on more than a century of academic achievement. The University, one of Georgia’s largest, is a top choice of Georgia’s HOPE scholars and is recognized for its student-centered approach to education. Visit: www.georgiasouthern.edu .

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