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'Just for Girls'

Barry McNamara
04/05/2011
Monmouth College has received a $1,000 mini-grant from the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) and a donation of $1,150 from the IL-IA American Chemical Society to help fund a course during this summer’s College for Kids student enrichment program.

The mini-grant will provide funds for the college’s “Involving Girls at the Math/Science Interface” proposal, which was written by mathematics and computer science faculty Joanne Eary and Marta Tucker and assistant professor of chemistry Audra Sostarecz. Specifically, it will provide a $25 tuition discount for the first 40 girls who enroll in the College For Kids course “Math/Science Interface, Just for Girls.” It will be team-taught by Eary and Sostarecz.

In addition to tying into her academic discipline, Sostarecz said the course resonates with her personally.

“My interest in chemistry began between my junior high and high school years when I was given the opportunity to work after school on a science project involving studying the effectiveness of different brands of sunscreen,” she said. “Seeing how chemistry and math can be applied to everyday life spurred my interest in both subjects. I feel very fortunate to be able to give other young girls this same opportunity, thanks to the College for Kids program, the National Girls Collaborative Project and the IL-IA American Chemical Society.”

Sostarecz and Eary plan to facilitate several hands-on activities for the girls, including measurements using Google Earth and a forensic crime scene investigation.

“As the co-adviser of the American Chemical Society club at Monmouth, I have gone with our students to the local schools to present demonstrations to the students and it is always exciting and fulfilling to see young students interested in science,” said Sostarecz. “I am also looking forward to helping the residents of the Women in Science House plan some events next year for female students in our local schools. It is our goal to give these girls every opportunity to become the next women in science!”

NGCP-funded projects must be STEM-focused, serve girls and be administered by two or more collaborating organizations. They must also involve one or more research-based strategies in the areas of informal learning or evaluation and assessment.

More information about the National Girls Collaborative Project is available at www.ngcproject.org.