Girl Scouts participate in three-part series to encourage interest in engineering

2:37 p.m., March 21, 2013–Girl Scouts gathered in Spencer Laboratory March 15 as University of Delaware professor Richard Wool described how chicken feathers can help clean up an oil spill.

Wool, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, shared that engineers are creative problems solvers and that green engineering is the science of the future.

The event was part of a three-week Family Friday series by UD K-12 Engineering’s outreach to encourage girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The local scouts have been on the University’s Newark campus the last two Fridays working with shear thickening fluid and containing oil spills with chicken feathers, activities intended to arm the scouts, and parents, with knowledge that engineering is both a fun and viable career path for women.

The hands-on learning activities combine a careful mix of activity and factual information designed to teach the scouts, but also to nurture a budding passion for the sciences.

“The first week’s session was titled ‘Engineering in Fashion and Apparel’ during which they got to work with shear thickening fluid and fabric,” said Melissa Jurist, coordinator of UD’s K-12 engineering program. “The second week’s session was titled ‘Is This a Real Job?’ In this session the scouts worked with chicken feathers and motor oil as an example of green engineering.”

The event series concludes this Friday with scouts learning to program in “Scratch!” an MIT-designed platform, while their parents or caregivers hear faculty presentations on advocating for girls interested in STEM.

Article by Gregory Holt

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson

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