The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Engineering women and EPA come together for DISD

With finals looming near and Thanksgiving break just around the corner, most students on campus are focused on finishing the semester with a strong showing on their exams. For the women and men of SMU’s Women in Science and Engineering chapter, late November is a last chance to make a difference in the Dallas community before the semester ends. Saturday WISE hosted a Chemistry Day for fifth and sixth grade girls from the Dallas Independent School District.

“Today’s event was organized, not only to provide the girls an opportunity to learn chemistry, but to learn how to socially interact in a diverse environment,” WISE member Shiny Mathewkutty said.

The day’s events began with some general introduction into chemistry and the periodic table. After breakfast, the girls participated in a cultural diversity icebreaker, which aimed to help teach cultural tolerance.

“The girls at these events come from different schools here in [the] Dallas area, with each one having their own levels of cultural diversification,” said the chapter’s co-director, Kawai Wong. “To be a true professional one needs to act not only with competence of knowledge, but with character as well.”

After the icebreakers, a speaker from the Environmental Protection Agency came to teach the girls the importance of conservation. She concentrated on the new concerns the EPA faces after the events of September 11th.

“[The chapter’s] events are designed to help expose the girls to both the physical world around them [and] the social world as well,” WISE member Dena Wright said. “Chemistry is the science of interactions and it seemed the perfect event to focus on how scientists can change the world around them.”

Following the EPA presentation, SMU’s Chemistry Society preformed some basic experiments that focused on the fundamental principles of Chemistry. The girls were then given hands-on chemistry experiments to play with, including the formation of polymers in the form of “gak.”

“To have a truly successful event, you need to not only stimulate the girl’s minds, but their interest as well,” WISE member Mary Borer said. “Lasting education is rooted in not just telling the girls how the world works, but to showing them as well.

“These early exposures to complex ideas provide a basis for academic learning that will stay with them throughout their lives.”

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