Mary Baldwin Connects with Young Science Sleuths

February 16, 2011

It’s not just students who make connections at Mary Baldwin University Community Service Fairs — professors do, too. Thanks to a lucky tip at the fall 2010 fair, Maria Craig, visiting assistant professor of chemistry, was able to set Girl Scouts Science Sleuth Day in motion.

A day dedicated to Junior Girl Scouts, Girl Scouts Science Sleuth Day gives fourth and fifth graders the opportunity to earn three badges — Making it Matter, Science in Everyday Life, and Science Sleuth — while completing hands-on projects led by Mary Baldwin students.

The Girl Scout sleuths will investigate all things scientific in Hunt Dining Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

“The Scouts will earn each badge by performing six short, hands-on science activities, for a total of 18 fascinating activities in one day,” Craig said. “Our students will plan and lead the activities, based on activities from the Juniors’ badge book.”

Alex Kelly, a junior biology major with an emphasis in biomedical science, is one of more than 40 students who have volunteered to help with the event. They will lead the miniature sleuths in experiments that range from making crystals and learning about fingerprints to DNA extraction and testing whether a substance is an acid or base.

“It is very important for young girls to get interested in science,” Kelly said. “It gets them to think about their world from a whole new perspective. Science makes them ask questions, which will spark their interest in learning in general. You never know what the answer to your question might be, and it could be surprising.”