The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

“Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” at the APS


As part of Argonne National Laboratory’s fifth annual "Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day" (IGED2006), a number of APS employees participated in the Lab-wide tours and demonstrations that gave 40 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade girls from public, private, and home schools a first-hand look at the possibilities of careers in engineering and science.

The students’ day began with a welcome from Kelly Mannsfield, Deputy to the Argonne Director, followed by a continental breakfast at the Guest House and then presentations on careers, given by students from the Massachusetts InstitutSe of Technology. The young women then toured Argonne, with stops at the Soil Analysis Laboratory, the Powertrain Facility, the Recycling Center, the Computer Access Grid, ATLAS, and the APS. In addition, each girl spent the day with a personal Argonne mentor.

“Thanks to funding secured from the APS and the Division of Applied Science and Technology and National Security, we were able to pay for ‘motivational’ speakers (actually students) from MIT to come and give a presentation on different careers in science and engineering to the visiting students,” said Erika Rossi (AES), IGED2006 Co-Chair with Paula Moon (ES). “The Division of Educational Programs and Women in Science and Technology funded the many miscellaneous expenses, such as lunches, posters, and printed materials. But the event would not have been as successful as it was without the tremendous volunteer efforts.  We hope to continue to gain exposure and funding so that we can host a greater number of students in the future.  We had over 100 applicants!”

While at the APS, the students heard about “Beethoven’s Bones” from Francesco De Carlo (XRS) and “The World’s Brightest X-rays” from Eric Landahl (XRS). Christa Benson (AES ), Anne Boron (AES), Daniela Capatina (AES), Christy Dannenberg (AES), and Oliver Schmidt (AES) served as mentors, interacting directly with the students and answering a multitude of questions. Debby Quock (AES) (who, according to Rossi, “brought the program to fruition five years ago”) and Mark Erdmann (AES) participated in the lunchtime career Q&A panel session, which featured Argonne Director Robert Rosner.

“Although IGED is run as part of National Engineer's Week, we are not strict in the interpretation of ‘engineering,’ ” Rossi pointed out. “ Because Argonne is a top research facility, it seemed logical and appropriate to include science as well as engineering.  So not all mentors were engineers, and not all activities were engineering related.”

Murray Gibson, Associate Laboratory Director for Scientific Facilities and Director of the APS, said of the day, “We need to tap into the brightest minds in our population to lead the world in engineering and science. Events such as this help plant the seed of excitement that, hopefully, will bring more women into these important careers.”

Asked by the organizers to provide their impressions of the day, the students’ seemed pleased with the APS:

“The tours gave me a lot of information and I enjoyed them.”

“It [Beethoven] was very cool.”

“They were good and gave us tons of info [about Beethoven].”

“The x ray was really interesting but I wish we could have ridden on the tricycles!”

“I think the X ray is so cool!”

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