Graduate Women in Science at Madison has long been active in outreach – we provide volunteers and leaders for events designed to engage and educate the public about science.
Some of the recurring outreach events we participate in are listed below – they are excellent opportunities to get involved. However, GWIS Madison Chapter also offers support to individual outreach programs. The chapter has access to a network of volunteers and professional contacts that can help develop a desire to start an outreach project into the real deal – so if you’re looking to spearhead something, we can help you reach your goals.
Middle School Science Club
GWIS Madison sponsors a science club for middle-school students held at the Meadowood neighborhood center on Whitney Way. The format is a weekly after-school session, where volunteers serve as “guest experimenters” to guide students through fun experiments that demonstrate interesting scientific principles and concepts. This club was begun in fall of 2014 and has enjoyed success since then!
This is a great outreach opportunity to show off cool science, interact with kids, and brush up your skills at teaching and communicating science. We’re always in the market for new experimenters, so if you’re interested in participating, contact our outreach coordinator.
Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) is a one-day conference held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for around 400 middle school aged (6-8th grade) girls from south-central Wisconsin. Middle school-aged girls come to Expanding Your Horizons conferences to learn about the wide range of career options for women in science, technology, engineering and math. Through hands-on workshops and visits to work places, they find out what it’s like to work in different careers. Student participants have a chance to interact with professional women who work in a variety of fields. GWIS provides volunteers to EYH annually, helping them set up the event, staffing workshops, and providing graduate student mentors for the day to give girls an opportunity to see what the lives of graduate women in science are like!
Each year, UW-Madison welcomes the public to participate in hands-on exploration stations staffed by UW scientists. In previous years, GWIS planned and presented an exploration station focused on the nanoworld. We introduced the concept of the nanoscale and some of the properties that are unique to nanoscale materials. To illustrate these principles we used nanotechnology to test which sport drink is the most hydrating. This technology was based upon gold nanoparticles which change color when electrolytes are added. We were able to use the color change of gold nanoparticles to compare the level of electroyltes present in different sports drinks: including Vitamin Water, pickle juice, and gatorade. This activity introduced participants to the promising applications of nanotechnology while also allowing them to perform their very own science experiment. Along with this activity, we had an exhibit to introduce participants to some of the highly talented female researchers performing science here at UW-Madison and elsewhere.
Many thanks to everyone who helped and stopped by our exploration station on Saturday at the 2017 Science Expeditions! Check back for dates for the 2018 Science Expeditions this coming spring. Hope to see you there!
The WSF stems from a collaboration between scientists, artists, and organizations committed to giving the public an opportunity to explore science. The festival is based in Madison, WI, but hosts activities in venues throughout the state. The 2016 festival took place during October 20-23 – GWIS hosted one of the more than 60 exploration stations at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, where we introduced hundreds of children to the structure and purification of DNA.
Look for us at the 2017 WSF, November 2-5, 2017! We’ll be having an exploration station on Friday November 3rd in the WID, called Amazing lasing, where we introduce children to lasers and refraction and have them complete a laser maze. To volunteer to help at the GWIS exploration station click here.