We provide the YWSI participants with an immersive experience", stated Kathryn Kelley, director of YWSI. Not only do the girls engage in hands-on investigation of an issue with real-life impacts, they also are surrounded by female mentors who guide them through every step of the process."
Throughout the weeklong residential programme, students learn to test the chemical properties of streams, take field trips to the stream and Ohio State University research labs and stay in residence halls on the OSU campus. Students will learn how to apply the scientific method to analyze the health of Ohio watersheds, through both physical observation and computer modelling and analysis.
The students will visit Darby Creek, a state and national scenic river southeast of Columbus, and compare the test results obtained on-site to their group's watershed projects, based on Ohio Environmental Protection Agency data. During the final ceremony at OSC, the girls will present their findings to an audience of scientists, OSU administrators, parents, teachers and staff.
Through annual surveys and longitudinal studies conducted in 2004 and 2010, YWSI participants have indicated that the programme positively influenced them. During the most recent study, approximately 74 percent of the students who participated in YWSI indicated that their interest in science and/or math classes increased since their participation in the programme; more than 75 percent of the participants conveyed they had greater confidence in math and science classes since participating in YWSI.
Five teachers selected for the programme also benefit by gaining experience in project-based teaching, using modelling programmes to guide research and learning and effectively integrate technology into classroom activities.
YWSI is a programme of the centre's Ralph Regula School of Computational Science and was sponsored this year by Battelle, American Electric Power, Procter & Gamble, Insight, Dana Rogers, The Ohio State University Campus Campaign and OSC.