July 6, 2010
Two students compare notes during the 20th annual B-WISER Camp at The College of Wooster in June.
WOOSTER - Rockets, robots, boomerangs, swamp stomps, flame tests, hot air-balloons - and not a boy in sight. That's right. The 20th annual B-WISER (Buckeye Women in Science Engineering and Research) Camp, hosted last month by The College of Wooster, is for girls only.
Designed to encourage young women to pursue the sciences and other technical fields, the
camp focuses on a hands-on approach. "Middle school is a good time (for girls to be exposed to science)," said camp coordinator, Mary Kilpatrick, "because (the girls) are getting ready for high school and need to choose their courses."
Girls from Ohio and elsewhere spent six days on campus and seemed to enjoy every moment. In fact, of the 52 girls who attended the camp last summer, 32 returned this year as alumni campers. These second-year campers have a separate and more advanced schedule than the regular campers, which involves field experiments throughout the morning sessions. In both camps the girls spend about five hours in class each day.
On one of the days, for example, the alumni campers went on a "swamp-stomp" at a bog in nearby Shreve, while the first-year campers attended a class, where they learned how to use compasses and make artsy items out of plastic lids like those from fast food restaurants.
Victoria Benefiel and Jessica Sorrell, two of the first-year campers, endorsed the hands-on approach of the program, especially the robotics portion. Both girls say that they have made a number of friends and hope to return for the alumni camp next summer.
"I love science," says Benefiel, an aspiring geologist and chemist, "I want to go further in science and in my knowledge."
For those who can't afford the camp, there are plenty of options available, including $300 scholarships from ABS Materials, the newly established local company that manufactures Osorb, for alumni campers returning for a second year. In addition, girls who win their district Science Fair competitions receive a $100 scholarship, while students who qualify for reduced-price lunches can apply for $400 scholarships.
[Story and photo by Libby Fackler '13]
1189 Beall Avenue, Wooster, Ohio 44691. (330) 263-2000
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