July was a big month for outreach! This was the 3rd summer of the Eureka! program! Eureka is a collaboration between Girls, Inc. of Holyoke and UMass Amherst College of Natural Sciences. Middle school and high school aged girls from Holyoke and neighboring communities come to UMass all day through the month of July to participate in STEM workshops and get a taste of the college life at the dining halls and gym.
GWIS held 3 workshops with the Eureka girls, all created by GWIS members.
Our first workshop was the return of last year’s pillbug workshop, by request from Girls, Inc.! In “Playing with Pillbugs: Experimental Design and Animal Behavior,” the girls learned about pillbug morphology, behavior, and natural habitat. With that knowledge, they created hypotheses about pillbug habitat preference, recorded observations, calculated averages, and the group graphed their results! This workshop was created by Outreach Co-Chair, Amy Ryan.
Our second workshop was created by Moijue Kaikai and GWIS member Zana Cranmer. In the workshop “The Power of Wind Energy,” girls created their own wind turbines using household materials! The girls then used the wind turbine to pull a weight up to determine how much wind energy they turned into mechanical energy.
Lastly, our third workshop was called “The Air Pollution Doctor” and was created by GWIS member Dr. Pallavi Pant. Girls learned about all the ways that our air can be polluted, from smog via auto emissions to indoor pollution from candles and air fresheners! GWIS volunteers helped the girls build their own sensors to measure particles in the air and compared sensor readings before and during lighting matches, incense and going outside.
The Eureka! program has been running for 3 years and every year, more girls want to participate and more STEM professionals want to work with the Eureka! girls! In addition to participating in STEM workshops held by UMass faculty and graduate students, the girls this year participated in programs held by The US Fish and Wildlife Service and toured Google offices in Cambridge!
GWIS is proud to participate in Eureka! programming and hopes Eureka! continues to run for many summers to come.
Are you interested in being on the Outreach committee and/or participating in GWIS Outreach workshops? Keep an eye out for emails about the fall programming!