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Monday, May 21, 2018

Kansas Students travel to Nebraska for the 2018 Women in Science Conference

     Eight Kansas high school students and their teachers from Topeka and Lawrence traveled to the University of Nebraska to attend the 20th Annual Women in Science Conference held April 6-7, 2018.  The conference was for students who want to meet and network with career and academic professional women in science. The attendees also had opportunities to interact with current female science undergraduate and graduate students as well as other high school girls interested in science.  In addition, the conference provided the students with the opportunity to discover and learn about professions in biology, geology, engineering, food science, computer science and various professions in the medical fields. Dr. Dayanna Patera, an  Internist with the Nebraska Internal Medicine PC, was the keynote speaker. 
     On Friday night at the banquet, the students listened to Dr. Patera and then Kansas had the opportunity to visit with current biomedical engineering students.  Saturday's agenda included hands-on activities at the Nebraska Union and lab activities at the Bead Center.  Some of the activities the Kansas students participated in were programing an EV3 robot to dance, building virus models, extracting plant and animal DNA, infect a tobacco leaf with bacteria, gram stain bacteria and practice sampling and organizing scientific data sets. 
     Marci Leuschen, a teacher from Free State High School in Lawrence, KS said "the graduate students leading the activities in the labs were encouraging and positive role models." One of her students, Lydia, commented "Personally, I thought the conference was such an amazing learning opportunity to meet other Women in the science fields that are so incredibly passionate. I enjoyed everything." And another student, Riddhi, said "The conference was a great experience!  It helped me discover professions that I had no idea existed before.  I was able to find professions that interest me and that can help me narrow in my search of personally interesting jobs as a future career."  Marci Leuschen shared, "The girls all came away from the conference energized about scientific research."

Education and outreach funding for the physics teacher workshop was provided by the Kansas and Nebraska NSF EPSCoR Track 2 Grant #1430519 titled: "Imaging and Controlling Ultrafast Dynamics of Atoms, Molecules, and Nanostructures."  The grant's educational objectives are designed to enhance STEM education in Kansas by supporting activities that will lead to an expanded STEM workforce or prepare a new generation for STEM careers in the areas of atomic/molecular/optical science.