Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Math, Science Add Up for Girls in Summer Program

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Math, Science Add Up for Girls in Summer Program

Article excerpt

Byline: Laura Diamond, Times-Union staff writer

One girl says she will be the next Bill Gates. Another predicts she will be the first female president.

While most of the other girls attending a summer program at Jacksonville University aren't sure what they want to be, they do want to study more math and science.

The newfound fascination for all things related to math, science and technology blossomed at Eureka, a new program organized by Girls Inc.

The free program gives 28 seventh- and eighth-graders hands-on lessons in those subjects. One day the girls attended an engineering lesson led by a JU professor. Together they built and launched rockets.

They also visited the project director for the new Fuller Warren Bridge. After a demonstration on building bridges, each girl constructed one out of Popsicle sticks and other materials.

To celebrate their knowledge, the girls jokingly call themselves Athena's Goddesses of Wisdom.

Gillian Harvey said lessons on building bridges and using computers will be handy when she is president.

"This program helps you better understand your goals," said the 12-year-old, who will be entering seventh grade at LaVilla School of the Arts. "You realize you can do anything."

And that is the heart of Eureka: making girls feel confident and excited about math and science.

When girls enter middle school, they typically lose interest in those areas, said Jenifer Wallace, outreach coordinator for Girls Inc.

To maintain their interest, professors and professionals work with the girls. They conduct experiments and go on field trips. They recently studied erosion at Big Talbot and Little Talbot islands.

"This is an adventure," said Jacquelyn Brann, director of Eureka. "We are exploring ideas and exploring the world of math and science. We want them to be comfortable in this world. …

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