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Girls Get a Head Start on the Study of Science and Math

“Expanding Your Horizons” workshop is an annual hit at The College of Wooster

April 19, 2013 by John Finn
Expanding your Horizons

Laura Sirot (second from left), assistant professor of biology at The College of Wooster, leads a session, titled "They'll Pay Me to Watch Animals?" at the "Expanding Your Horizons" workshop on April 13 at The College of Wooster.

WOOSTER, Ohio — A record number of fifth- and sixth-grade girls descended on The College of Wooster last Saturday for “Expanding Your Horizons,” an annual workshop designed to encourage young women to enter science- and math-related fields by affording them hands-on experience and showing them the real-life applications of these disciplines.

Sessions included the use of spaghetti and marshmallows to build towers and demonstrate principles of physics and mathematics; the combination of cotton balls, newspaper, popsicle sticks, tape, and other materials to build a packaging device that would protect an egg when dropped from a height of two stories; and the extraction and examination of strawberry DNA under a microscope to solve a mystery in “Clue-like” fashion.

The students also learned how yoga can affect their body, mind, and mood; investigated the chemicals that make up the things they eat and use on a daily basis; and discovered how to keep their pets happy and safe in a world where many things inside and outside the home can adversely affect their health.

Animals also played a major role in a session led by Cynthia Holz-Pelini, a veterinarian from Advanced Animal Care in Wooster, who showed the girls how to make sure their pet was in good health and how to examine x-rays. The girls each took turns listening to the heart of a live dog and cat through a stethoscope.

“I loved doing the ‘It’s Raining Cats and Dogs’ session!” said Allison Yacapraro of Wooster. “It really gave me a head start on being a veterinarian.”

Sponsored by The College of Wooster, the Wooster branch of the American Association of University Women, the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, the Ohio Geological Society, the Wooster Book Company, and the Cat’s Meow, the series of workshops has been offered to young women in the area for more than two decades.

 - Story by Libby Fackler '13