Distributed April 24, 2002
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Kate Bramson

April 27: Science and engineering outreach day

Girls focus on interactive projects; parents get practical school advice

The “Empowering Your Future” conference at Brown University on Saturday, April 27, provides hands-on science and engineering experience for middle-school girls and their parents and teachers. The event is open to the media.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Middle school girls from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut face a difficult assignment this Saturday: Build a four-story structure that will withstand a simulated earthquake. They’ll tackle the project with Popsicle sticks, straws, rubber bands, paper clips and a hot-glue gun. The buildings will be judged by their ability to withstand high frequencies once they’re placed on a table that will shake faster and faster.

The building project is the grand finale of a daylong program designed to interest girls in science and engineering and to teach their parents what the girls need to know about getting into college. The “Empowering Your Future” conference is co-hosted by the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), the Women in Science and Engineering Program (WISE) and the University’s Division of Engineering. Brown has hosted similar hands-on science conferences for girls in the past; this time parents and teachers are included.

Almost 70 girls, 70 of their parents and 10 teachers have registered for the Saturday, April 27, session from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Brown’s Barus and Holley Building. Students and parents are still able to register for the conference. Interested individuals should contact Gregory Crawford, associate professor of engineering, at (401) 863-2858. A $10 family registration fee may be waived for those with financial constraints.

Parents and students will attend separate morning workshops. The girls will work with Brown undergraduate and graduate students, making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, learning how LCD displays work and understanding the mechanics of bat flight. Parents will attend sessions on student study habits and skills, how to plan financially for college and how to help their children plan academically for college.