Engineering students, faculty inspire young minds at GLAMS Conference

May 29, 2015 | Engineering and Science

Faculty and staff from Louisiana Tech University’s College of Engineering and Science and College of Applied and Natural Sciences recently gathered with eighth-grade girls from schools throughout our region at the 2015 GLAMS (Girls Learning About Math and Science) Conference in El Dorado, Arkansas.
The event is designed to provide encouragement, through talks and hands-on experiences, to those who might be interested in careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields. The 2015 conference had a record student turnout with more than 260 girls from 16 schools and six counties in southern and central Arkansas.
Louisiana Tech students presented hands-on opportunities and experiences to a group of eighth-grade girls at the 2015 GLAMS Conference.

Louisiana Tech students presented hands-on opportunities and experiences to a group of eighth-grade girls at the 2015 GLAMS Conference.

Dr. Jenna Carpenter, associate dean of undergraduate studies for Louisiana Tech’s College of Engineering and Science; Dr. Mary Caldorera-Moore, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and nanosystems engineering; Dr. Jamie Newman, assistant professor of biological sciences in the College of Applied and Natural Sciences; and Cristy Martin, director of student success for the College of Engineering and Science, were among the event’s presenters.
“We are so pleased to be able to share the excitement of engineering with these girls at the GLAMS conference,” Carpenter said. “We have been participating for a number of years and always find that the girls are really engaged and interested in learning about the opportunities for making a difference in the world that an engineering career offers.”
Caldorera-Moore, with the help of several undergraduate and graduate students from her lab, taught the students about diffusion and osmosis by enlarging and shrinking gummy bears with water.
“My students and I really enjoyed getting to introduce the next generation of engineers and scientists to the exciting STEM fields,” said Caldorera-Moore. “I think my Louisiana Tech students got just as much out of GLAMS experience as the participants. They loved the opportunity to share their experiences with other young females and to share a bit about their research with others in a fun, sweet activity.”
Newman had students make bracelets to gain a better understanding of DNA base pairing, the basis of much of molecular biology and genetics.
“I participated in the event because it was an opportunity to expose girls to science in a way that might inspire them to be excited about a scientific field in the future,” Newman said. “I also took it as an opportunity to engage my own undergraduate student in the community and hope that her presence would be that much more motivating to the girls because they could identify with her. I look forward to participating again next year and taking more students from Tech with me.”
Martin noted that conferences such as GLAMS can help increase diversity within STEM fields.
“We continue to face significant gender bias, which develops much earlier than high school; therefore, it is important to intervene earlier,” Martin said. “GLAMS is doing that in a fun and informative way by bringing professionals and students together. I am looking forward to new and unique ways to encourage young girls to explore the STEM fields and see how their skills can best be used and interests met in ways they never imagined.”
Written by Brandy McKnight –