Saturday October 25, 2014 marked the 12th anniversary of the Exploring Marine Science Day for middle school girls. The Consortium for Advanced Research on the Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE) partnered with the UM Rosenstiel School and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to host this day of interactive learning. Fifty young women from across South Florida spent their Saturday with Rosenstiel’s female faculty, students, and researchers to get an up close look at what it is like to be a marine scientist.
- The girls learned about corals with Stephanie Schopmeyer and helped with coral restoration by planting coral (skeleton) fragments on special nursery plantforms.
- The amazing women from Marine Geosciences never disappoint! Amel Saied, Anna Ling, Kim Galvez, and Carolina Bardaro taught the girls how to squeeze water from mud samples and they explored some of the amazing organisms found in the ocean.
- The highlight of the day is always drawing blood from a toadfish with Dr. Danielle McDonald and her students. They learned about red and white blood cells, plasma, and stress hormones.
- Rana Fine taught the girls about ocean acidification through an experiment in which the girls test the pH of sea water, before and after the addition of a carbonated soda.
- Aplysia! CARTHE Outreach Manager Laura Bracken taught the girls about the importance of the amazing aplysia and the fascinating details of their life cycle, but the best part was actually getting to hold their slimy new friend.
- The girls learned about density during a colorful experiment, mixing salt and freshwater with Meredith Jennings and Renellys Perez.
- Josefina Olascoaga created a spinning ocean in the lab, complete with dyed ocean currents and eddies!
- Dr. Lisa Beal completed the day with a powerful video of female oceanographers and a reminder to all of us, “Don’t let the boys have all the fun!”
Attendees had this to say about the event:
“Today’s program was awesome! I did not know there was so much science out in the ocean…”
“I love science and everything I did today was amazing”
“Today was one of the best days of my life!”
“I learned that there was a lot more to marine science than I thought.”
The activities are clearly fun and engaging but most importantly the girls left with a greater interest in science and knowing that anyone can be a scientist. Our scientists are also athletes, mothers, community leaders, and artists. According to the evaluations, the majority has an increased interest in studying science!
Thank you to all of the volunteers from CARTHE, RSMAS, and AAUW for making this day a success.
— Laura Bracken