Girls in Science Program celebrates its 15th year; Boys’ Science Exploration is in its third year


Girls performing lab test.

Girls learned how to make lip gloss in the “Lobely Lips Laboratory” workshop.

About 75 middle school students from Wisconsin and surrounding states spent a weekend at UW-L this year to learn more about science and mathematics.

For the past 15 years, UW-L’s Continuing Education and the College of Science and Health have partnered to offer a weekend summer program to get middle schoolers excited about science and mathematics in the hope that someday the students will pursue careers in the fields.

The “Girls in Science” program began as a collaboration with Penny Tiedt, Continuing Education; Sandy Grunwald, Chemistry; and Susan Kelly, Mathematics. The collaboration continues. Angela Coenen, Karen DeSchepper and Tracy Noyes, all Continuing Education, coordinate registration, housing, meals, budgets and advertising. Susan Kelly, College of Science and Health, chooses the instructors who  design a variety of workshops and monitors each day’s events.

Three years ago, the boys’ program, “Boys’ Science Exploration” was added as a separate, but similar type of program.

UW-L faculty members along with college student teaching assistants teach two-hour workshops. This year’s workshops included:

  • “Angry Bird Eggstravaganza”
  • “Rollercoasters”
  • “Lovely Lips Laboratory”
  • “What Does Random Mean?”
  • “Movie Production Through Computer Programming”
  • “When Light and Matter Collide: There’s Chemistry!”
  • What in the World is Wrong With Carmen San Diego?: A Diagnostic Case Study
  • Food is Fuel and Munch, Munch More
  • There’s WHAT in my Food?!
  • Nature Journaling
Boys performing biology experiment.

Seth King, Physics, pictured in brown shirt, taught boys the principles that govern how rollercoasters work and helped them design their own rollercoasters in the “Rollercoasters” workshop.

This year’s workshops were taught by Faye Ellis, Tim Gerber, Lisa Kobs, Megan Litster and Rebecca Werren, all Biology; Jeff Bryan, Nadia Carmosini and Sandy Koster, all Chemistry; Samantha Foley, Computer Science; Darby Oldenburg, Health Professions; Jeff Baggett and Eric Eager, both Mathematics; Marisa Barbknecht, Microbiology; and Jennifer Docktor and Seth King, both Physics. UW-L students and  alumni serve as resident assistants while the students reside in the residence halls.

Signup for next year’s program begins in early February. Find out more at