On Sunday, August 25, the All Girls STEM Society taught the chemistry workshop at the Mission Valley Public Library to about 50 girls. Among them was Lauren, who has been to numerous AGSS workshops before and says they’re always fun. “I like that there’s all girls here,” she laughed, “ because a lot of the time I’ll go to things like this and there are almost none!” Bela said of previous workshops, “I’ve only been to one of these before but I’m really excited for this one. They’re always interactive.”
The workshop started off with an introduction by Amanda Tran, the organization’s co-president. She gave an overview about electronegativity, polarity, and the Bohr Atomic Model. After learning the basics about atoms and molecules, the girls then participated in a trivia session where they demonstrated their previous knowledge about the topic. “I didn’t know any of this when I was your age,” Amanda chuckled.
They then learned about Marie Curie, this month’s AGSS woman in science. She was the only woman to win two Nobel prizes in two different science categories: chemistry and physics. Ainsley, who wants to be a scientist when she grows up, was an active participant throughout the trivia session. She told us that she looks up to Marie Curie. “It’s cool how they didn’t even know it was radon at first since it didn’t have any color. That’s what I really like about science, you’re always learning new things.”
Many girls’ favorite parts of the workshops are the hands-on activities. The first one was a chromatography experiment, where they separated the ink from markers to reveal their individual pigments. Milani and her table group were surprised by their results, “I really didn’t expect the colors to all separate like this. It looks so cool,” they exclaimed. The next activity involved observing the results of pouring water over Skittles. Angelina and Lola learned about a new application of polarity through food dye and water. “It was fun seeing how what we learned could apply to real life,” they recalled.
The workshop, a combination of experiments and presentations, has been run by All Girl’s Stem Society once. Lauren had already attended this workshop before, but when asked why she chose to come again, she explained that she always learns something new at every workshop and they change a little bit every time. The organization not only strives to teach girls about topics in science, technology, engineering, and math, but also shows girls how to see their application in their everyday lives.