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WIU Hosts Campus STEM Activity for Girl Scouts

March 7, 2023

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MACOMB, IL -- A Girl Scout science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program was held on Western Illinois University's Macomb campus Saturday, March 4.
The event allowed Girl Scouts to earn a variety of STEM badges and certificates.

The program was first started in 2017, by the College of Arts and Sciences Women in Science Initiative Director and Chemistry Department Chair Rose McConnell, in partnership with Jessie Hughes O'Leary, program specialist for Girl Scouts of Central Illinois-Quincy Service Center. The WIU Girl Scout STEM program was planned to be a yearly event. The 2020-2022 events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year was the fourth Girl Scout STEM event at WIU.

Approximately 85 Girl Scouts (at all levels, K-12th grade, Daisy Scouts, Brownie Scouts, Junior, Cadette Scouts and Senior and Ambassador Scouts) participated in this year's event. Many of the WIU Science faculty members served as team leaders for the event. They designed and led STEM activities for the Girl Scouts needed to allow the Scouts to earn their badges. More than 30 WIU student organization members (Chemistry Club, Forensic Chemistry Club, Biochemistry Club, Women in Science and biological science students) volunteered to be Girl Scout "buddies" to help the girls perform their specific STEM activities.

The Girl Scouts were divided into four groups:

Kindergarten through third grade - Daisy and Brownie Scouts were doing activities led by Biological Sciences Professor Sue Hum and Physics Professor Pengqian Wang. The activities included recycling, animal defenses, Einstein alive and ghost froggy.

Fourth and fifth grade - Junior Scouts were doing forensic activities led by Chemistry Associate Professor Liguo Song and Chemistry Assistant Professor Shaozhong Zhang. The activities included forensic fingerprinting, forensic blood examination and forensic hair examination.

Sixth-eighth grade - Cadette Scouts were doing activities led by Physics Professor Saisudha Mallur and Earth, Atmospheric and Geographic Information Sciences Professor Redina Finch. The activities include frequency analysis and facial recognition.

Ninth-12th grade - Senior and Ambassador Scouts were doing SEM (scanning electron microscope) activities led by Chemistry Professor Brian Bellott.

Snacks and drinks were served in the middle of the event, provided by Kay Tsai from Chemistry department.

At the closing ceremony, each of the 85 Girl Scouts received their STEM Girl Scout certificate from the WIU Chemistry Department, and a gift bag from WIU, provided by Biological Sciences Chair Ranessa Cooper.

For more information about the Department of Biological Sciences, visit

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