Women Empowered by Science hosts local girls


Matthew Yatison helps two sixth grade students from Holy Rosary, Duryea, as they remove the eggs of a sea urchent for closer examination.

On March 21, WEBS hosted sixth grade girls from around the Wyoming Valley to gain hands-on learning experience about the reproductive system and the engineering behind wind tunnels.

Women Empowered by Science, or WEBS, is an organization developed to maintain female interest within the science field through hands-on learning and experiments.

Professor Debra Chapman is the director of WEBS. She said she sees the importance of keeping girls engaged.

“Research shows that boys and girls are equally interested in science up until middle school,” said Chapman. “At some point around middle school age, we tend to lose a lot of girls for a variety of reasons. One of the main things we try to do with the WEBS program is to maintain the interest in science that these girls already have.”

The girls who attended on Thursday represented Hanover, Wilkes-Barre, Wyoming Valley West and Holy Rosary school districts. They spent half of their visit isolating gametes from purple sea urchines to better understand the reproductive system and the rest of the time eploring the engineering behind wind tunnels. The students and their teachers said they were very thankful for the opportunity.

“This is just amazing,” Lisa Casey, a sixth grade teacher at Holy Rosary said. “They do more here than they could ever hope to in the classroom and we can’t wait to go back to school and tell everyone about it.”

Chapman explained that all involved shared a great enthusiasm for the event and the implications it can have for the future of the students. Grace Cadigan, biology major, was one of the student volunteers who agreed.

“When I was a little girl, I wished for a program like this. It’s a really cool way to get you excited for the future,” said Cadigan.