Spring Into STEM™: Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Scientists was a fun day of science for all!

Spring Into STEM™: Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Scientists, a science outreach event for middle school girls, took place on April 28, 2018. The event was hosted by Young Women In Bio RTP (YWIB), Graduate Women In Science RT (GWIS), North Carolina State University’s Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC), and students from Meredith College. This was the second Spring Into STEM™ event hosted by YWIB RTP, and it was part of YWIB’s national festival around Spring into STEM™.

When the students arrived, they received lab notebooks as well as BTEC’s lab coats, gloves, hair nets, and optional beard covers. Then they were treated to an afternoon of scientific activities, facilitated by volunteers from YWIB, GWIS, and Meredith College.

The students attended “Slime Time”, where they made slime and learned about the properties of polymers that make up the slime. In “Infection Detection”, they exchanged fluids between test tubes to learn how infectious diseases can spread between people. During “Yeast Machine”, they observed how quickly carbon dioxide produce from a mixture of yeast and sugar blew up a balloon. During “Blue’s Clues: What’s In Your Drink?”, the students used chromatography to separate the red and blue dyes out of grape soda. Finally, during “Whatever Floats Your Boat”, the students built foil boats and used density calculations to determine how much cargo the boats could hold.

All that science was a lot of work! So the students took a break to attend a networking session. At the session, they had the chance to ask each other and volunteers questions about science and life, including “When did you decide you wanted to work in science?” and “If you could design a robot to do anything, what would you have the robot do?”.

The event ended with a keynote speech by Dr. Janice Coffey Swab, Professor of Biology Emerita at Meredith College. Dr. Swab talked about her adventures studying plants around the world. She encouraged the students to never give up on their dreams and reminded them of their potential as tomorrow’s scientists.

With that the students left, many still in their lab coats with cups of slime and balloons full of CO2 in hand, and potentially, with the promise of an exciting future in science on their minds.

A big thank you goes out to BTEC for hosting the event, YWIB RTP, GWIS RTP, and Meredith College volunteers for donating their time, and Harris Teeter, Nuventra Pharma Sciences, and IQVIA for their help in putting on the 2018 Spring into STEM™!