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32 sixth-grade girls will get hands-on science experience this weekend

April 3, 2013

More than 30 middle-school-aged girls (and their teachers and parents) will flock to the Science Center tomorrow (April 5) and Saturday (April 6) for the 23rd Annual Girls and Women in Science Conference.


This award-winning conference encourages the exploration of science and mathematics by middle school girls through two days of experiments, activities, and interaction with science professionals.  The entire weekend is designed to build confidence in the girls who attend by providing them with academic opportunities and encouragement from female scientists. The girls, teachers, and parents—coming from as far as Michigan as well as right here in the city of Beloit—will work with Beloit College faculty, students, and alumni, including keynote speaker Chantel White’03.

Since graduating from Beloit College in 2003, White has traveled the world studying archaeology and ancient foods. Her research has primarily taken place in the Middle East (Jordan and Israel), as well as North Africa (Ethiopia) and Europe (Italy and Greece), explains one GWIS organizer, Kelsey Kettelhut’13. Typically White works on-site during the summer months, excavating sites and collecting samples for analysis. During the school year, she analyzes the samples and works on publication in her current position at the University of Notre Dame, where she is a postdoctoral researcher.

“One thing students should probably be mindful of is the fact that the science center will be pretty much closed to students between 4 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday—there will be girls, teachers, and parents in several rooms and labs of the building, so it's probably best to find a study place somewhere else that will be much quieter and less hectic!” says Kettelhut. “Girls will also be sleeping there, so the building will be closed Friday night, too.”

However, the entire campus is invited to check out the results of the hard work of 45 volunteers and the conference participants Saturday, April 6 from 2 p.m. until 3:30 p.m., when the young women will offer a poster presentation on the labs they conducted over the weekend.

And if you’re lucky, you might get to learn about making ice cream with liquid nitrogen.