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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 ( and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), an NSF funded interdisciplinary center housed in the Physics Department, ( are celebrating the 14th year of their Summer Girls Outreach, a program designed to encourage teenage girls to consider careers in science, especially Physics.

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.

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Photos of the Girls' Demonstrations

International 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


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