WKU wants to convince more middle and high school girls to pursue classes in the STEM fields. More than 200 area girls in grades 5-12 will be on campus Saturday, Sept. 6, for the Girls in Science Day event.
The effort will focus on helping girls explore fields of study in science, technology, engineering, and math. Program coordinator Melissa Rudloff says many girls who initially excel in science-related classes take fewer of those courses as they get older.
“Research tells us that going back to elementary and middle school, many of those girls who may have entered those professions definitely had interest and ability in those fields. But somewhere along the way they become channeled in different directions. And many may do that themselves, or maybe it’s through the lack of experiences they have,” said Rudloff, who is the Professional-In-Residence at WKU’s SKyTeach program, which instructs future middle and high school math and science teachers.
One of the events at the Girls in Science Day gathering will be a talk led by Cheryl Stevens, Dean of the Ogden College of Science and Engineering. Rudloff believes it’s extremely important for girls to meet women who have succeeded in science-related fields.
“It’s absolutely critical. When a young person pursues an idea to be something, to be someone—they really need that role model to identify with. So for these girls to come here and see older girls and women who love science and who have pursued it, that sets a powerful example for those younger girls that yes, this is possible.”
Rudloff says response to this year’s Girls in Science Day event has been incredible, with an overflow number of participants. She advises anyone interested in learning about future events to check the WKU Ogden College website.