Formula for a Cool Camp: Mindy Levine’s Chemistry Camp for Middle-School Girls
URI Chemistry Professor Mindy Levine loves science. And, with a 2-year grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences, she’s created a weeklong chemistry camp for girls to help them explore science. The free camp runs during the April school vacation week and is packed with hands-on experiments, a field trip to the Boston Museum of Science, and female scientists from a variety of career fields as guest speakers. Professor Levine says, “I want these girls to come out of this camp thinking that science is cool and that women can become scientists.”
Female role models are critical. Abundant research shows that girls start losing interest in science during middle school or earlier, and the result is a dearth of women working in science, engineering, technology, and math. In 2009, only 24 percent of scientists and engineers were women, according to the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey.
Levine stresses that science is a way for the girls to explore their natural curiosity. “If I think of an idea today,” she says, “I can be researching it tomorrow. I’m curious naturally and, to me, that’s what science is all about. It’s an established framework to explore curiosity.”
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