COSAM News Articles 2020 December Jr. Mad Scientist outreach event embodies COSAM's commitment to impactful service

Jr. Mad Scientist outreach event embodies COSAM's commitment to impactful service

Published: 12/15/2020

By: Cara Brittan

On November 3 and 5, the Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) student organization hosted its annual Jr. Mad Scientist outreach event, with the support of the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) Outreach Department. Jr. Mad Scientist is a free community event GWIS looks forward to hosting each Fall. It is an open house style event for children in 1st-5th grades in which children and their chaperone(s) browse tables, participate in demonstrations, and complete make and take activities, learning throughout the night from graduate students in STEM from across the university.

Goals of GWIS include providing support to graduate women studying STEM fields and engaging the next generation of scientists through K-12 outreach opportunities. The mission of the Junior Mad Scientist series is to enhance science literacy and engagement within our community by providing free science activities to students and their guardians. The current GWIS executive team explained, “Our volunteers look forward to doing this outreach every semester. They love watching the kids’ faces as they watch the demonstrations and listen to the science behind what is happening be explained.” The children not only get to learn fun science concepts, but they also get to learn those concepts from outstanding women in STEM, an important mission of GWIS.

This year, GWIS members hosted 13 different science stations for 63 children along with their chaperones. Stations taught children about a wide range of topics, including properties of air, microbiology, human and plant anatomy, ecology, electricity, and more. Some of the favorite stations of the participants were handling reptiles, building diode light pins, viewing and designing plankton, looking at highlighter-colored flowers under UV lights, and watching elephant toothpaste ooze. One parent praised “all of it!” stating her child “was excited from the minute that [she] told her about going and was just as, or more, excited when [they] left.”

The Jr. Mad Scientist series was chosen as a cause to be featured during Tiger Giving Day, which will be February 24, 2021. The GWIS executive team is ecstatic to have been selected because contributions from the community will ensure this free outreach event and its Spring counterpart, Spring into Science, will occur for several years more. Parents at Jr. Mad Scientist this year expressed their gratitude for the event and the engaging enthusiasm of the presenters, and through Tiger Giving Day people will have the opportunity to provide funds for more table exhibits at future events. To learn more about Graduate Women in Science at Auburn and Jr. Mad Scientist, like their Facebook page (GWIS Auburn) and follow them on Instagram (@gwis_au) and Twitter (@gwis_au)

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