Eight middle school girls highly-recommended by science teachers and mostly from Grant County experienced a unique 3-day STEM Camp called "Physics Wonder Girls Camp" on the Marion campus of Indiana Wesleyan University on June 24-26, 2015. On its third and final year, the physics camp aimed to sustain interest of middle school girls in science through hands-on physics demonstrations, physics-based games, and project-building. Topics ranged from the physics of buoyancy, building and testing submersibles at the IWU pool, an eggdrop competition, physics of food, extracting DNA, fingerprint science, and meeting female STEM professionals who discussed the joys and challenges of being women scientists. Girls learned to cut, drill, waterproof, assemble, solder, test, and debug their projects. Their submersibles competed by completing underwater missions under time pressure. The activity’s capstone activity was a Physics Show given by campers to family on the last day.
The free physics camp was funded by the National Science Foundation, conceived of and organized by IWU Physics Professor and Blanchard Endowed Chair Dr. Roberto Ramos. Dr. Ramos acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation DMR Grant # 1206561 and support provided by the staff, faculty, and students of DNS/SPAS. Prof. Eric Kern provided expertise in forensic fingerprinting. Profs. Tara Renbarger and Jolie Leonard provided career insights as female STEM models. Dr. Ruby Gonzales (University of Rochester) provided expertise on DNA extraction. Brenda Ramos (Senior R&D Manager, PURATOS Corporation) provided expertise and hands-on demos on the physics of food science and processing. The student crew consisted of Charisse Sallade, Madeline Livingston, Matt Eckhardt, Andrew Koors, Michael Huntington and Rafael Esmundo. We acknowledge the assistance of Cheryl Edris, Charlotte Sallade, Juanita Higley and Dale Briscoe. A musical slideshow of the camp activities can be found at: