Principal Scientist, Analytical Services
United StatesContact Alison
On March 5, 2020, the American Heart Association hosted its annual STEM Goes Red for Girls event. Nearly 100 female students from Portage County schools gathered for a day of hands-on learning and valuable mentorship from professional women working in STEM careers.
Three Smithers team members volunteered to attend the event. Principal Scientist Alison Schweda, Associate Scientist Stephanie Rains, and Supervisor of Tire Analysis Reports Elizabeth Black organized and led a hands-on activity for the students to enjoy during the opening hour of the day.
“We set up stations for the students to formulate and make their own lip balm,” said Schweda. “Each student got to choose from four different formulations of lip balm and use a scale and water bath to create their own balm to take home. We also had a station where the students could test the water seal capabilities of commercial chapsticks.”
“The students learned a lot from such a simple activity and got to see how science plays a role in products we use every day,” said Rains. “They followed a scientific procedure and recorded observation data, they learned how to weigh ingredients on a balance, they calculated percent yield, and they compared products based on testing results. That’s the great thing about a career in STEM: you will always learn something new.”
The STEM Goes Red for Girls event is designed to introduce female students to the wide range of STEM careers on the market and the myriad paths they can follow to explore their passion for science.
“I got to talk to a few students who were at the event last year, and they still have the lip balms they made that day,” said Schweda. “Some of them even told me they were thinking about a career in cosmetic or dermatological science based on what they learned from this activity last year. It’s so important to me that everyone understands that science is a part of our everyday lives. Being able to share that with young people is very rewarding, because it gives them the information, knowledge, and support to continue down a path they might not have seen as possible before.”
“There is a lot you can do in this field,” said Rains. “Sharing science with young people shines a light on all the opportunities that a STEM degree offers will help them decide what they want to be when they grow up.”
Smithers was proud to sponsor the event for the second year in a row.
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