UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS
SUMMER GIRLS OUTREACH PROGRAM HELPS BRIDGE THE GENDER GAP IN PHYSICS
Area 8th Grade Girls Get Two Weeks of
Education, Role Models and Fun With Science
COLLEGE PARK, MD - (August 1, 2002) - The University of
Maryland Department of Physics (www.physics.umd.edu)
and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC),
an NSF funded interdisciplinary center housed in the Physics Department,
(mrsec.umd.edu) are celebrating
the 14th year of their Summer Girls Outreach, a program designed
to encourage teenage girls to consider careers in science, especially
Each year, 8th grade girls from Maryland, Washington, D.C. and
Northern Virginia spend two weeks at the University of Maryland
learning about the fundamentals of Physics through entertaining
experiments and demonstrations.
Jennifer Stott, MRSEC Education Outreach Coordinator and her all-female
staff of graduate and undergraduate students handle the science
instruction, serving as both teachers and role models.
Photos of the Girls' Demonstrations
Study of Women in Physics
||"In addition to preparing them
for their high school science classes, we want to show these
young women that careers in science are interesting, rewarding
and an option for them to consider," said Bernadine Kozlowski,
who has organized the program since its inception.
According to the 2001 International Study of Women in Physics,
conducted by the American Institute of Physics, in 1997 and 1998
in the United States, only 13 percent of the people that were awarded
Ph.D. degrees were women; also only 18 percent of the people that
were awarded first-level degrees were women.
The University of Maryland Department of Physics and MRSEC-NSF
hopes to change those numbers by reaching out to girls as they enter
high school - the time when most are beginning to think about their
career options. The same study by the American Institute of Physics
reported that 58 percent of women physicists today said they began
to consider Physics as a career when they were in high school.*
Interested students apply in the Spring and the Department of Physics
accepts 25 girls for each of the two two-week summer sessions. Acceptance
is based upon the paragraph that each girl must write about why
she would like to participate in the program. As a result, the girls
come from a variety of academic and economic backgrounds.
"Scrutinizing grades would eliminate some of the girls that
would benefit the most from this project," said Kozlowski.
The program is free of charge for the students; it is funded by
the University of Maryland College of Computer, Mathematical and
Physical Sciences, the Department of Physics and the Materials Research
Science and Engineering Center.
Students interested in applying for next summer may contact Bernadine
Kozlowski at 301-405-5949.
On Friday, August 2, 2002, the second session of students will
be performing demonstrations of Physics principles for their families
from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. Members of the media are welcome to attend,
obtain photographs or video footage and speak with students, parents
and University of Maryland Department of Physics faculty and staff.
About University of Maryland Physics
The University of Maryland Physics Department, located in College
Park, MD, is ranked #13 in the nation. It offers bachelors, masters
and doctoral degrees and has more than 30 research groups and centers,
including several nationally ranked groups. For more information,
please visit http://www.physics.umd.edu.