Inspiring the Next Generation of Female Scientists – Women in Science Day 2017

Like in previous years, PhD students Lela Schlenker, Christina Pasparakis, and Yadong Wang prepared oil spill themed presentations and activities for aspiring young female scientists in the local community.

Story by Christina Pasparakis

This past Women’s in Science Day was held on Saturday, November 18th 2017. We had two groups of approximately 20 girls who ranged from around 4th to 8th grade. We started off by giving a presentation about our research and why we study oil exposure in fish. We also taught the girls about early life stage development and pointed out different organs and parts of the embryo and explained their function. We then showed the girls pictures of oil exposed larvae compared to control larvae and had them discuss what they thought were the major effects of oil exposure on developing fish. When the presentation was over, the girls teamed up and looked at mahi embryos and larvae under the microscope. We had two activities they were able to choose from and some girls were able to finish both. One activity involved drawing what they saw under the microscope and labeling the main body parts we had discussed earlier (oil globule, heart, eyespots, pigmentation and yolk sac). The other activity was to measure a mahi larvae heart beat by counting beats per 20 seconds and then calculating bpm. The girls seemed really interested in our section and loved watching a real time heartbeat under the microscope. We were very impressed with the group of girls this year (despite some of them not paying attention and making unicorn hats) 😛