A visit from Astronaut Ellen Ochoa the morning of July 17 will be the highlight of a math, science and computer camp for girls at the University of Rochester this month. Camp is in session from Monday, July 8 to Friday, August 2.
Ochoa, who has flown missions and who holds several patents, will give a presentation to the girls that helps them understand some of the opportunities open to women skilled in science and mathematics.
During daily sessions from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays, girls will learn that math can be fun: For example, if you had a whole jar of M&Ms (which the teacher will bring to the class), how might you estimate the number of yellow or green candies in the jar? During the Olympics, the girls will discover how using different units of measurement can help them make mathematical predictions about who will go furthest or fastest.
The girls will also explore simulated worlds on computers, write about their experiences, and depict them using computer software such as Creative Writer and Fine Artist. The purpose? To help them develop the scientific reasoning and data analysis skills that underlie much research.
In addition to meeting Astronaut Ochoa, the girls will meet other role models by visiting area women scientists, doctors, and researchers in their labs or workplaces.
"It's important for girls to work with computers and technology at a young age," says graduate student Edith Kort, the camp's organizer.
The camp, now in its sixth year, is sponsored by the Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education and Human Development and the Susan B. Anthony University Center.