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Clarkson's Horizon Programs Return This Month Bringing Adolescent Girls And Science Together
Although women constitute nearly half of the American labor force, they fill only 12 percent of the nation’s lucrative jobs in science, engineering and technology, according to the National Council for Research on Women.
Clarkson University hopes to remedy this imbalance by getting more middle-school-age girls interested in science and technology careers through the summer Horizon programs.
“Studies show that women have an aptitude equal to men in science and mathematics, yet few girls choose to pursue careers in these areas,” said Program Director Bobbi Laird, a school psychologist and educational specialist. “Horizons are intensive residential programs designed to encourage and inspire girls at an important time in their lives, just as they begin to think seriously about identity, higher education and career pursuits. We offer them role models and empower them to see options where before they may have seen limitations.”
Clarkson created the Horizon programs 16 years ago. Since then, more than 200 girls each summer are introduced to the excitement of science and technology through hands-on activities and team projects--from building working robots to mixing up magic in the laboratory.
Each year, participating schools around New York state are invited to nominate two girls enrolled in seventh grade who display an aptitude and strong interest in science and math. Upon successful completion of the Horizon I weeklong program, the students are invited back the following year for a second week of science fun (Horizon II) on a first-come-first-served basis up to a limited number.
The program features an integrated curriculum, which includes science, mathematics and computer science, as well as workshops in career opportunities, personal development and leadership training. Theme and project-based activities provide entertaining, hands-on opportunities for understanding and reinforcing important scientific concepts.
Students learn about wetlands biology in the “Stomp in the Swamp” excursion, spend a day mixing and pouring concrete to test its strength, participate in an interactive chemical magic show, and design and construct spaghetti bridges for load testing. Interactive projects in aeronautical engineering, environmental analysis and robotics are also features of the program.
The Horizon programs are sponsored by the Pipeline of Educational Programs (PEP), a Clarkson initiative to increase the number of women and minority students pursuing baccalaureate, master’s and doctorate degrees in the sciences and business at Clarkson.