Girls have fun with science

Published 8:58 pm Saturday, November 8, 2014

More than 70 Girl Scouts gathered at Old Dominion University on Nov. 1 for a day of science fun and exploration during an annual workshop hosted by the Hampton Roads Section of the Society of Women Engineers.

Locally, the society has worked with Girl Scouts for more than 25 years to give girls the opportunity to learn new skills, develop self-confidence and explore their interests in a supportive environment.

SWE member Eileen Leininger, a retired engineer with Newport News Waterworks who has volunteered with Girl Scouts for more than 25 years, began the day by talking to girls about careers in engineering. She made engineering relevant for girls by helping them see how everyday items — from parking garages to water pressure in their bathroom sink — involve engineering. When girls see the relevance of science, technology, engineering and math in their daily lives, they will be more likely to continue to pursue their scientific interests.

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The girls then participated in a variety of engineering activities, including creating their own water filtration systems, programming robots and putting together electrical circuits. They also participated in a construction challenge to build the highest tower using uncooked spaghetti noodles, string, tape and one marshmallow, and they learned about wetlands and erosion.

In addition to giving girls the chance to learn and discover in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, SWE Day is an opportunity for girls to interact with female engineers. Today, only one-fifth of American scientists and engineers are women, and Girl Scouts are working to fill the gap by giving girls access to strong female role models in the science, engineering and math fields who will inspire girls to envision themselves in similar careers.

The next science-related event for girls, Think Link a Scientist, will take place on Saturday, Dec. 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. This event is open to all girls, whether or not they are currently registered members of Girl Scouts. Registration for this event can be completed at