Middle-School Girls to Get Taste of Science at STEM Academy

Jan. 25, 2013

Sixty-five African-American middle-school girls from the Dallas Independent School District will visit the UT Dallas campus this Saturday to walk on a liquid and solve a “whodunit” using fingerprint analysis.

Middle-school Girls Get Taste of Science at STEM Academy

A STEM academy session allows girls to meet with professional women in STEM-related careers, as well as female graduate students who are pursuing STEM degrees.

The activities are part of a STEM academy called “Passport to STEM,” a half-day workshop aimed at fostering girls’ interests in science, engineering, technology and math (STEM).

Held at UT Dallas and sponsored by the Dallas Chapter of The Links Inc., the STEM academy session includes an experiment using a mixture of cornstarch and water, which forms a so-called “non-Newtonian” fluid. It pours like a liquid, but behaves like a solid when force acts upon it, such as stepping on it. The girls also will meet with professional women in STEM-related careers, as well as network with female graduate students who are pursuing STEM degrees.

“This is a great opportunity for these girls to gain exposure to both academic and professional opportunities in STEM fields,” said Felecia Pittman, professional development associate with UT Dallas’ Center for STEM Education and Research. The center is partnering with The Links and coordinating the curriculum for the event.

“We hope that the girls will develop connections with some of our female students who could serve as mentors or role models,” she said.

Dr. Mary Urquhart, head of UT Dallas’ Department of Science and Mathematics Education, provided guidance for the event’s NASA-related activities, including a movie about gravity and freefall. Dr. Lani Connolly, assistant director of the Science and Engineering Education Center, will oversee the session on fingerprint analysis and forensics. The Galerstein Women’s Center helped to coordinate the STEM student volunteers.

The Links is a national, nonprofit organization of professional women committed to serve the African-American community. Through its STEM academy events, the Dallas Chapter of The Links aims to increase STEM readiness by providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue STEM-related degree programs and careers.


Media Contact: Amanda Siegfried, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4335, amanda.siegfried@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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