Gas station without pumps

2010 October 11

Expanding Your Horizons

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 00:01
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On Saturday 9 Oct 2010, UCSC had their 10th annual Expanding Your Horizons conference to interest high-school girls in math and science.  (I mentioned it briefly in a previous blog post.) This year they had Danielle Feinberg of Pixar Animation Studios as their keynote speaker: “To Infinity and Beyond! The Math and Science Behind Movie Making.” Most of the day, though was spent on hands-on workshops doing things like extracting chemicals from marine sponges, or doing the DNA manipulations needed for forensic identification of human DNA.  The Santa Cruz Sentinel published a decent article on the conference (written by Alia Wilson).

Although only about 200 girls are directly involved in an event like this, I think that hands-on workshops (whether one-day or all summer) are far more likely to produce future scientists and engineers than TV shows (like Nerd Girls) or  web sites (like Dot Divas).

I remember one time a number of engineering faculty discussing what outreach events had been most effective in getting them into engineering, and NSF high-school science and math programs came up as being really memorable. I’ve not heard much recently about NSF high-school outreach, are they still doing it?  I, myself, went to a weekly abstract-algebra program that lasted for a few months (that would have been around 1970).   I still have the copy of Polya’s How To Solve It that I got as part of that program, though the textbook on rings, fields, and ideals has long been gone and forgotten.



    A quirky website trying to expand people’s ideas of what smart and beautiful women can be.

    Comment by Jennifer — 2010 October 11 @ 02:03 | Reply

  2. I tried recently to find any current NSF programs like the one I attended (6 week summer engineering program at USC) and couldn’t find any. It was a great program for me, definitely made a difference in what I studied and where I went to school.

    Comment by kcab — 2010 October 13 @ 19:03 | Reply

  3. Interesting that they’ve added HS teachers to those programs, probably a good idea. The residential aspect was very important in my experience, as it was the first time I met kids with similar interests and abilities, but I think that’s more available elsewhere these days.

    Comment by kcab — 2010 October 14 @ 17:36 | Reply

  4. Note: some readers are coming here from the Davidson Gifted Forum, looking for intense summer program.
    Also check out my post on summer math at

    Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2010 November 3 @ 20:38 | Reply

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