By Erika Drake
Indiana Wesleyan University will host three days of fun and fascination in the area of science and physics for female junior high school students. Dr. Roberto Ramos, associate professor of physics, made Physics Wonder Girls — a free camp for junior high participants — possible as an aspect of his submission for a research grant to the National Science Foundation.
The motivation for the camp was due to the discovery that women generally lose interest in science during their junior high school years, according to Ramos. He hopes the event will intervene, sustaining interest in science for the 10 participants. The IWU Society of Physics Students also is supporting the camp.
Ramos emailed various junior high science teachers and principals in the area to recommend students who showed a passion for science and physics. The ones chosen by the teachers submitted essays to be considered for the female-only free camp, which will coincide with the participants’ spring break.
Throughout the three-day camp, the girls will take part in hands-on experiments and demonstrations. They will act like scientists by making predictions on what the results will show. Some experiments will have the students microwaving ice cubes, testing new wonder materials and making liquid nitrogen ice cream. Each experiment is designed to challenge the student to question results and learn the physics and science behind properties.
“They will feel special and hopefully they will consider physics a valuable career field in the future, because we need physicists, especially women,” Ramos said.
The event calls for IWU female student volunteers to help conduct and teach the experiments. Kaley Necessary (jr) and Audrey Evans (so) volunteered their time and knowledge to the program.
Evans got involved because she is interested in making math and science appealing to all learners and considered Physics Wonder Girls a great opportunity to do so.
“I see the importance of getting girls involved and interested in the field of science at a young age.” Necessary said, “especially in an area of study that is often male-dominated.”
At the end of the third day, students will perform their own demonstrations to parents and friends, becoming the teacher and physicists themselves.
Physics Wonder Girls will take place March 25-27. Necessary hopes the girls will be amazed by the science, math and theories behind the experiments. She also hopes they will begin viewing the world through the lens of science, and ultimately bring them in awe of God, who created it.