by Danica Chen, Del Norte High School
On January 31, 2016, the All Girls STEM Society hosted another one of its educational events designed to inspire young girls to pursue science and mathematics. Over thirty students participated in their latest workshop focusing on Aerospace.
AGSS has done significant work since its founding in 2015. The program, which is run entirely by high school volunteers, has organized over half a dozen events with more than 200 participants. It has hosted everything from computer science classes to mathematical relay races, all guaranteed to give girls an educational and entertaining experience. Currently, Eleni Fafoutis is in the process of starting another chapter of All Girls STEM Society in Virginia.
At their latest event, the participants built their own rockets and received a firsthand account of the aerospace industry from Rob Colatutto, the founder of R&D Robotics and the cofounder of Parabilis Space Technologies. He explained the basics of aerospace, in addition to his own experience working in their field. The girls listened with rapt attention. Afterwards, the girls were quizzed on the contents of the speech. Those who answered correctly were allowed to choose from a box of prizes ranging from pencil pouches to erasers.
Afterwards, the students took a ten minute break. The girls talked and laughed excitedly as they munched on cookies provided by the AGSS. Though they ranged wildly in age and came from a variety of different schools, the girls instantly bonded over a shared love of science and mathematics.
The break was followed by the highlight of the event: rocket building and launching. Volunteers passed out paper templates, colored pencils, and scissors and stood nearby in case any of the girls needed assistance. After the girls cut out their rockets, they started coloring them, covering any white space with stars or hearts or swirls, giving their rockets not only function, but fashion. Then they folded their rockets in the appropriate shape, adjusting the edges and the fins so their rockets would soar farther or higher.
Once the rockets were built, they were ready to fly. Launch pads constructed out of PVC pipes were lined up outside the building. An empty soda bottle provided the "fuel". The girls launched their rockets by putting their rocket on one end of the launch pad and jumping on the soda bottle as hard as possible. When one girl stepped up to launch, the others counted down from three in unison and cheered as the rocket shot into the sky. Some rockets flew so high they shot past the tops of trees, and some went so far nobody could see where they landed. Every girl had a huge smile on her face when she went back inside for the awards ceremony.
At the ceremony, awards were given out to the girls whose rockets had gone the farthest and the highest. All the girls received a prize for completing and launching a rocket. Then the event finally came to a close, leaving every participant with an amazing experience and a colorful rocket to take home. In the All Girls Stem Society's most recent event, every girl came away with a little more knowledge about aerospace and a little more love for the world of STEM.