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Middle School Celebrates Women in STEM

Garrison Forest Middle School celebrated Women in STEM week to kick off the all-Middle School unit on Women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). On Wednesday, February 27, several seniors who participated in Garrison Forest’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) partnership with Johns Hopkins University shared their experiences with the Middle School through a panel discussion. 

  • Ellie Blue worked with Dr. Terri Powell in the School of Public Health interviewing adolescent health experts, conducting research and writing blog entries on adolescent health issues.
  • Aley King worked with Dr. Linnea Zimmerman at the School of Public Health on multiple projects involving reproduction, family planning and adolescent health
  • Lauren McEachin studied Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) in the lab of Dr. David Hackam, at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, studying the origins, effects, and possible solutions for NEC. 
  • Marion Riley worked on a Cognitive Neuropsychology project in the lab of Dr. Brenda Rapp using neural eye-tracking data to determine areas of the brain used for learning and recognizing letters.
  • Madison Haywood worked in the lab of Biomedical Engineering professor Dr. Kevin Yarema Lab studying metabolic glycoengineering, which exploits changes in carbohydrate metabolism and sugar biology in disease to develop early methods for the detection and treatment.  . 

The WISE students spoke about their experience with the program, why they decided to participate in WISE and answered questions from the Middle School students, which included whether they thought they would participate in WISE in Middle School. While a few of the WISE students had always been interested in STEM and had looked forward to the program since Middle School, others developed an interest later in their high school years. 

Lauren, who plans to become a physician, had looked forward to participating in WISE since Middle School. “I was always stronger in science and math,” said Lauren. “I was glad to be in a lab-based setting because while I don’t want to be in a lab for the rest of my life, it was nice to see what real scientists do outside of just learning about biology and chemistry and how they actually apply that knowledge to helping solve problems in the world.” 

“WISE was a really great experience and taught me a lot of things that I will need to know in college,” said Aley. “I wasn’t dealing with cancer or things like that, my project was more research and writing focused, but you need those skills in college, so it was good for me to get in and start doing that now.” 

Madison was initially unsure about whether she would participate in WISE. “I was intimidated because I felt like I was stronger in the humanities and history,” said Madison. “I didn’t know that I was going to be able to handle that experience in the lab, but I’m glad that I did it and that I was able to delve more in depth into science. It was actually quite manageable, my mentor really helped me, and I’m glad I really had the experience.”

Watch Madison talk about her WISE experience below.

Later that afternoon, the girls took part in the 2nd Annual Grizzly STEAM challenge. The students moved through a series of different STEM-related challenge stations in mixed grade-level groups in an attempt to successfully complete as many challenges as possible. Upper School WISE students were on-hand to help run the stations. 

The 8th Grade also watched the movie Hidden Figures during the week and will have a follow-up discussion about the movie last week. 


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