Scientists for Tomorrow girls participated in the Girls do Hack event at the Adler Planetarium

On Saturday November 9th, 2013, a group of 14, After School Matters (ASM), Columbia College Chicago (CCC) and  Scientists for Tomorrow (SfT) girls from James Hedges Elementary School participated in the Girls Do Hack event at the Adler Planetarium.

In the weeks leading up to the event, the girls invested part of the time in the program to learn and be ready to present Science, Technology, Engineering and Technology (STEM) concepts and skills to a group of sixty other girls and teens from around the city of Chicago. The activity they presented was “The Circuit Monster”. Eliza Talamantes and Maricela Salazar, the instructors for SfT at James Hedges elementary school, worked hard to guide the presenters to form understandings of the concepts within the project and then, be ready to present and answer questions during their presentations. Ashley Conroy, the Coordinator for the Scientists for Tomorrow Program, helped by organizing the materials for both the preparation stage and the event.

The first activity of the event was the keynote address to the participants from Poornima Vijayashanker, the founder of Femgineer. Femgineer is a start-up aimed at promoting women in the fields of STEM. She gave a very inspirational talk before groups were divided for the day.

The Scientists for Tomorrow teens were presenting in three different groups, so each group had a different schedule for the day. When they were not busy presenting, they participate in several workshop sessions led by women interested or working in STEM related fields. Among many workshops was one titled “The 3D Experience.” Within this program, participants were given a problem they needed to solve and generate a possible solution within the time frame. The designs were first drawn on paper, then develop in a computer program similar to many computer aided design (CAD) programs. Their designed solution was then presented to the group, and finally printed on a
3D printer. During this workshop, participants were able to discuss ideas and connect with the STEM professionals, as well as learn about the future of 3D printing.

Another workshop the girls attended, was the Mobile Phone App Laboratory. Through this experience they learned about code and other technological concepts that are used in the world everyday. There were many other workshops that participants attended such as “Searching for Undiscovered Planets Outside of Our Solar System,” “Lockpick Village,” and “Solar Viewing” which took place at the Doane Observatory behind the planetarium. Each had a particular purpose, as well as STEM professionals for participants to connect with.

By: Ashley Conroy