Springfield, Ohio - When Mike Crotty took his family to a Wittenberg University Astronomy Club outing, he was thrilled with his children's enthusiastic reactions, but he was also concerned that none of them thought they could work as a scientist or astronomer in the future. It seems they thought only the smartest students could go on to do such difficult work.
In hopes of proving to his six children that a career in science is attainable for anyone with an interest, Crotty, a Wittenberg chemistry major and father of three Girl Scouts, had a brainstorm. Noting that Wittenberg and the Girl Scouts of Buckeye Trails Council share the common mission of presenting young people with opportunities for learning and personal growth, Crotty organized the first Science Night at Wittenberg, which is scheduled for 5:30-11 p.m. Friday, April 6 at Wittenberg's Science Hall.
Five groups of 25 scouts each will make a tour of Science Hall, where Wittenberg professors will lead a series of one-hour workshops in biology, physics, astronomy, chemistry and geology. The event sold out just 48 hours after it was announced in January. Families are welcome to attend with their daughters, although they may not be able to participate in every workshop due to space limitations. The girls will receive a custom-designed patch for their participation.
Crotty said the goal of the event, which originally involved simply a lesson in astronomy, is to "get girls interested in science because many times girls are ushered into other non-scientific areas of study." With the help of Daniel Fleisch, assistant professor of physics, Crotty got several other Wittenberg professors involved, and some of the university's female science students have been asked to lead the groups of scouts through the workshops as mentors.
"At these girls' age, science is too often just memorizing facts from a textbook and regurgitating them at test time," Crotty said. "I want to show 125-plus girls and their families that is not what science is all about.
"We also want to dispel the notion that only geniuses can become scientists. If we can instill enough love/interest for science in just one of these girls, who otherwise might not have chosen this path, and she becomes a science major, I will consider the night a great success."