Event energizes local Girl Scouts
Ohio State’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering gave some young women a strong base of knowledge in sustainable energy and the science that supports it.
Vicky Doan-Nguyen who also designed the activities and coordinated the event was coordinated with Beth Aiello, program director for the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland. “Scoping Out Solar Energy” included the following activities to not only introduce students to concepts of electrification of vehicles and electron microscopy but also to think about their roles as potential scientific and engineering leaders in the future. The event took place at the Institute for Materials Research Nanotech West Lab and the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis (CEMAS).The objective of “Scoping Out Solar Energy” was to work with elementary school-aged girls to discuss electrification of vehicles via energy conversion and energy storage. The program was spearheaded by
At the beginning of the day, the 18 Scouts were knowledgeable with various forms of energy (e.g. electrical, heat) and that energy is consumed and expended differently for humans vs. cars. There was also a discussion of how solar energy and stored energy in batteries can be used to power cars. Applications of solar energy were also discussed with the Scouts regarding off-grid independence in areas of the world that do not have reliable sources of electricity. One of the Scouts noted that the overlaid map from the Institute for Energy Research showed that parts of the world do not do not have electricity to light their homes, and thus, access to electricity is not equally distributed. The students were continuously engaged during the discussions, car construction, car racing, electron microscopy session, SEM tour, and post tour discussions.
“Given the positive feedback and enthusiasm from the participants, the program director has invited us to officially be a part of their 2019 STEM program,” said Doan-Nguyen. "We will reach out to this year’s sponsors and seek additional sponsors to increase participation in the activities. Based on some of the responses from the Girl Scouts, more exposure to laboratories and examples of renewable energy is needed to dispel misconceptions and introduce ideas regarding sustainability."
Donations to offset costs were provided by Honda-Ohio State Partnership, Institute for Materials Research, the Center for Electron Microscopy and Analysis, and the Ohio STate Underrepresentation in STEM Group of the Humanities & Arts Discovery Theme Science and Technology Studies. In addition to monetary and in-kind service donations, at least 20 volunteer hours (preparations and day-of activities) provided by staff at CEMAS (Ashley Swartz, Wesley West, Stephen Boona), IMR (Kari Roth), and engineering students.