Girls Science Day @Columbia University

On Saturday, November 21, 2013 Columbia University hosted middle school girls from in and around New York City in the annual Girls Science Day. So what happens when you mix 40 middle schoolers, laser pointers, and fluorescent JELL-O?

The lesson plan was simple enough – in 40 minutes, we would explain the basic properties of an atom and how it relates to fluorescence, explain Snell’s law, give them a JELL-O waveguide,  and have them find the critical angle of the JELL-O waveguide.

As it turns out, the best of intentions occasionally crumble (literally!) when children ask “can we touch it?” and proceed to pick up what turned out to be fairly delicate waveguides… Although our JELL-O ended up in several dozen pieces, the shouts of “that’s soooo cool” convinced us that we had a successful demo on our hands. As it turns out, a tray full of JELL-O and tri-color laser pointers make for some pretty neat photos!

Girls Science Day was hosted by Cathy Chen, Atiyah Ahsan, Jelena Marasevic, and Lee Zhu.  Approximately 40 students attended the event on Columbia University’s campus.

Select pictures can be seen below:

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Student Leadership Council

Cathy Chen is pursuing her Ph.D in Electrical Engineering at Columbia University in the City of New York, after completing a B.S. at Cornell University and a M.S. at Columbia. She is currently the chair of the CIAN Student Leadership Council, president of the Columbia chapters of OSA and SPIE, vice president of the Graduate School advisory council, and a board member of the Columbia Engineering Young Alumni Association. Her interests include photography, music,  travel, and dance.

3 responses to “Girls Science Day @Columbia University

  1. I’d say you did well! Last time I saw this demo done (with a somewhat younger group of girl scouts), it sort of evolved into a JELL-O fight. Cleanup took us quite a while…

  2. Very cool! We will try this in our next outreach! Thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Pingback: Girls in Engineering Summer Camp at UC Berkeley | Education at the Center for Integrated Access Networks

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