by Callie Deng '14
When the clock struck nine on Saturday, March 16th, the Montgomery Blair Auditorium fell silent. Hundreds of female students from middle schools throughout the county turned their attention to the speaker standing before the podium. The event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Nancy Adleman from the National Institutes of Health, came onstage to present an inspirational talk regarding women in science. The 25th annual Females in Science and Technology conference had begun.
Mrs. Hart, the magnet organic chemistry teacher and sponsor of the Science National Honor Society, declared, “FIST was definitely a success … We had over 150 seventh-grade girls and a variety of experiences and enthusiastic presenters.” Plans for the annual FIST conference began in mid-January, as news of the upcoming event spread among members of the Science National Honor Society. From there, the Head Tutors of the Science National Honor Society were in charge of forming their own groups and planning workshops based on STEM disciplines. From evaluations completed by past participants, it was apparent that the younger students preferred methods of active learning. The student volunteers thus faced the challenge of creating interactive workshops that promoted experimentation and ingenuity.
Although FIST is an annual event that has been running for over two decades, students and teachers keep trying to improve the event by making adjustments from year to year. “This was the first year we had 3 groups of sessions taught by Science National Honor Society students,” Mrs. Hart said. Around twenty Science National Honor Society members and many more magnet students volunteered for this year’s event.
Neil Davey ’14, the President of the Science National Honor Society, emphasized that “[Science National Honor Society] would like to continue planning activities that motivate youth to consider beginning their careers in the STEM disciplines.” One event planned for the end of the year is a chemistry ‘magic’ show aimed at an audience of elementary school students. As Neil puts it, this event has an objective very similar to that of FIST – “to motivate students to pursue careers in STEM, something that is much-needed for the future of our country as a whole.”