February 24, 2024

Lessons in the Sciences: Mary Washington Alumnae Advance STEM Careers

A young woman leaves New York to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at a small Virginia women’s college in the 1950s. After graduate school, she becomes a revered electron microscopist – but not without the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field. Consequently, she spends her life helping female students at her […]

UMW-Hosted Science Olympiad Tests Students’ STEM Skills

Stafford High School senior Justin Kelly used a curious collection of objects to make his science competition entry last weekend: PVC pipe, duct tape, Styrofoam, a No. 2 pencil, half a sock. Despite its patchwork of parts, the contraption – an egg transporter that represents a lesson in physics – performed well in the “Scrambler” […]

UMW-Hosted Science Olympiad Tests Students’ STEM Skills

Stafford High School senior Justin Kelly used a curious collection of objects to make his science competition entry last weekend: PVC pipe, duct tape, Styrofoam, a No. 2 pencil, half a sock. Despite its patchwork of parts, the contraption – an egg transporter that represents a lesson in physics – performed well in the “Scrambler” […]

Field Trip Gets Elementary School Students Excited About STEM

Elephant toothpaste. The giant glob of sudsy foam created in a classroom experiment gave Battlefield Elementary School student Aidan Muller a thought: “Chemistry is cool!” The whimsical tooth wash – hydrogen peroxide mixed with dish soap and a healthy dose of imagination – was part of a fall field trip designed to get students excited […]

Mission Complete: Innovation Challenge @Dahlgren a Strong Win for STEM

Keegan Kearl tapped out calculations on his cellphone while Christopher Ashley and Rodrigo Alexander Veliz hunched over a laptop. All three, along with their Spotsylvania High School teammates, were intent on making a robot do their bidding. The teens were among more than 70 students representing 12 districts – from Richmond to North Stafford, and throughout […]

Supporting STEM: Innovation Challenge @ Dahlgren Targets Critical Area Need

“STEM” learning – science, technology, engineering and math – has been a priority for decades. But fewer young people in the U.S. are pursuing these subjects, and that puts the nation at risk. The Innovation Challenge @ Dahlgren represents a powerful partnership set to take aim at this critical need in the Fredericksburg region. The […]

Science Symposium Highlights Student Research

Ryan Barlow spent much of his free time this semester waiting for clear nights. When one finally arrived, he’d haul his equipment – including a telescope, camera, spectrograph, motorized mount and filters – outdoors and set up outside of the Jepson Science Center at the University of Mary Washington to take photos of nebulae and galaxies. Barlow, along with 27 other students, presented his findings at the annual Summer Science Institute Research Symposium on July 23. For many, this was the culmination of many hours of hard work and research, and an opportunity to share the fruits of their labor. More than 20 UMW STEM students came together to present research at the annual Summer Science Institute July 23. Ryan Barlow, middle, explains his research on astrophotography. From left: Ben Kisila, associate professor of earth and environmental science, works with Luci Coleman to conduct research on the Chesapeake Bay. “This is their first taste of what it’s like to be on a research team and to be with other people who are just doing research,” said Deborah Zies, associate professor of biology and co-director of the Summer Science Institute. “It’s a great opportunity for faculty and students to get started on a project and work.” The daylong event is one of the few to bring together biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, math, computer science and physics students to present their original research projects to faculty, families and peers. Students presented on a wide-range of research, from chemical signals in crayfish interactions to astrophotography to the downfall of antibiotics. “It’s a high-impact learning experience,” said Nicole Crowder, assistant professor of chemistry and co-director of the Summer Science Institute. “I hope that this program exposes students to what it’s really like to be a scientist. Students take the knowledge that they’ve been gaining in the classroom and really apply it.” John Meadows restored a Mach-Zehnder to conduct research on slow light. Ruth Catlett, right, explains her research in parallel computing education. At the end of the symposium, the following students received awards for their research presentations: First-place Oral Presentation: Jerome Mueller, “Developing a Tetra Interpreter,” Faculty Advisor: Ian Finlayson, assistant professor, computer science Second-place Oral Presentation: Amy Jayas, “The Best Dam Project Ever,” Faculty Advisor: Alan B. Griffith, associate professor, biology First-place Poster Presentation: Kevin Speray, “Qualifying the Efficacy of Aeschynomene virginica as an Indicator Species for Sea-Level Rise,” Faculty Advisor: Alan B. Griffith, associate professor, biology Second-place Poster Presentation: Shehan Rajapakse, “Designing the Tetra IDE,” Faculty Advisor: Ian Finlayson, assistant professor, computer science

UMW Showcases STEM Activities

Small drones buzzed overhead as more than 600 people viewed the latest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the Anderson Center at the University of Mary Washington on March 29 during the third annual  STEM Summit 16. Click to view slideshow. Showcasing the achievements of the region’s students, educators and businesses, the event featured more than 50 booths, including the UMW departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental science, geography, mathematics, physics and the admissions office. Germanna Community College, the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren and a variety of regional schools also showcased 3-D printers, experiments and robotics among other STEM-related technologies. Missy Cummings, director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, delivered the keynote address. One of the U.S. Navy’s first female fighter pilots, Cummings discussed drone technologies and human-machine collaboration. The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual event is sponsored by Central Rappahannock Regional Library (FredTech) and Lockheed Martin. A few steps away in the Goolrick pool, five local school teams – from elementary to high school – competed in the regional SeaPerch competition. The SeaPerch program, funded by the Office of Naval Research, is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). Teams guided their remote-controlled submersibles through a series of tasks, including navigating an underwater obstacle course and retrieving weights. Teams also presented to a panel of judges about the overall projects. Two teams, both from the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity Dahlgren School, won the competition and will go on to a national SeaPerch competition in Mississippi. A different buzz could be heard further down Campus Walk during the 8th Annual UMW High School Calculus Tournament. Six local high school teams, consisting of 23 students, competed in a jeopardy-style competition and used individual buzzers to signal the correct answers. The Paul VI High School team from Fairfax took home the championship title with team members Christina Wulff, Stephanie Ibanez and Stephanie Keener. The Mountain View High School team from Stafford finished second. Thomas Sheehan, also from Paul VI High School, earned the top individual score of the tournament. More than $600 in prizes were awarded to the student winners as well as the schools represented by the top two teams. The event was sponsored by Dynovis.

UMW to Host STEM Events, March 29

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be in full swing at the University of Mary Washington on Saturday, March 29 with the following events:

SeaPerch Competition

Local high school and middle school students come together to compete with SeaPerch robots or underwater remotely operated vehicles at the Anderson Center pool from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out www.seaperch.org for more information.

 STEM Summit 16

UMW will host the third annual FredTech STEM 16 Summit showcasing the achievements of the region’s students, educators and businesses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the Anderson Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information available at http://members.fredericksburgchamber.org/events/details/3rd-annual-stem-summit-3205

 Calculus Tournament

Six teams from regional high schools come together to compete in a tournament sponsored by the Department of Mathematics in Monroe Hall from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call or email (540) 654-1332(540) 654-1332 or llehman@umw.edu for more information.

 

UMW to Host STEM Summit, March 29

The University of Mary Washington will host the third annual FredTech STEM 16 Summit on Saturday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Anderson Center. The annual event showcases the achievements of the region’s students, educators and businesses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Chem-lab-2Missy Cummings, director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, will deliver the keynote address at noon. She is a leading authority on drone technologies and human-machine collaboration and is one of the U.S. Navy’s first female fighter pilots. Featuring more than 40 local secondary schools, UMW, Germanna Community College and the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, the event will include STEM-related booths and technology demonstrations throughout the day. This event is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, visit http://members.fredericksburgchamber.org/events/details/3rd-annual-stem-summit-3205.