University of Findlay Welcomes Hundreds of Girl Scouts for STEAM Day
Girl Scouts from Toledo to Dayton made a trip to the University of Findlay on Saturday, taking part in STEAM Day. More than 200 Girl Scouts (grades K-12) and nearly 150 adults, arrived on campus to learn more about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) through experiments, painting, and engineering builds.
The event was part of a collaborative effort between Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, University of Findlay, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Findlay Women in STEM, and Awakening Minds. Volunteers from each of the sponsors helped educate students all over campus. Scouts completed experiments in classrooms, painted in the Alumni Memorial Union, visited the University Newhard Planetarium, and took part in an engineering project in the Joseph & Judith Conda STEAM Education Center at the University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum.
Girl Scout volunteer and troop leader, Erin Nagy, helped those in attendance experience all areas of STEAM. Girls took the time to build catapults and launch marshmallows, learned about density and physics, spent time in the planetarium, and painted canvases under the direction of volunteer instructors. For Nagy and other troop leaders, the goal was simply getting STEAM topics in front of the girls, “Early exposure is incredibly important in our STEAM fields! Getting girls interested and letting them take part in and build confidence in each of those areas is so important,” Nagy said.
Meaghan LaBarre was one of many Marathon Petroleum Corporation volunteers who took time out of their weekend to help educate young girls about physics and density. LaBarre and her colleagues used water, corn syrup, and oil to teach students about density, while also taking the time to talk about everything that Marathon does and creates. While those girls in attendance were exposed to STEAM throughout the day, LaBarre wasn’t as lucky when she was a little girl. “I come from a background where I wasn’t really introduced to STEAM at a young age. For me, this is a huge goal of mine and so important to spark the minds of young girls,” LaBarre said. “Being able to let the girls know that ‘you are not bound by any conditions’ and that ‘it’s ok to take an interest in science and engineering,’ is so important.”
Girl Scouts and their family members also stopped into the Mazza Museum’s Joseph and Judith Conda STEAM Education Center on Saturday, learning more about engineering and building marshmallow catapults. Heather Sensel is the education manager for the Conda STEAM Education Center, and a member of Women In STEM (WISTEM). For Sensel, it’s all about leading by example, “We want to empower women and girls, showing them that we (members of WISTEM) are doing it and living STEAM every day,” she said. “We want to encourage them and let them know that they don’t have to shy away from this. We’re here to support them in their journeys.”
Joining Sensel in the Conda STEAM Education Center was Marathon Petroleum Company engineer, Chelsea Campbell. Campbell is also a member of WISTEM, helping to support and develop nurses, engineers, professors, and other women in STEM. She believes breaking down barriers at a young age is important. “A lot of girls fall away from STEAM around 6th grade and stop progressing in those fields,” Campbell said. “To get girls to realize that they are just as good as the boys in math and science, and that they can continue that passion is extremely important. It’s going to take us further if we can break down those barriers and say, ‘You can do what you’re passionate about!’”