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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Girls rule at special workshops

Hilary Matheson, Reporter writes, "Girls ruled the school at Flathead Valley Community College Tuesday as they engaged in science, math, technology, engineering and medical workshops."
Four hundred and four girls pour out of the community room at Flathead Valley Community College Arts and Technology building as they make their way to their respective workshops on Tuesday, May 19, at Expanding Your Horizons, a program for 7th and 8th grade girls with an interest in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. 
Photo: Daily Inter Lake

A record group of 404 seventh- and eighth-graders from 20 schools converged on the college campus for the annual Expanding Your Horizons program.

The purpose of Expanding Your Horizons is to encourage and motivate young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects through hands-on workshops led by volunteers with professional experience.

Some of the girls launched bottle rockets under the guidance of Alison Godfrey, a retired engineer for Lockheed Martin.

“I was a technical lead for some of the Lockheed Martin target launches, so we built rockets for basically our military’s target practice,” Godfrey said.

Prior to Lockheed Martin, Godfrey started her engineering career for Raytheon in 1983.

“I was working for Raytheon. They do government projects for ground-based missile systems, radar and such. It was just as much fun as you can have. It was a blast,” Godfrey said.

Right out of college, she was one of a few women in her line of work, but said there are more today, according to Godfrey.

On Tuesday she taught students about the variety of engineering jobs.

“Today I’m showing them that I’ve got system engineers, rocket engineers, ground-support engineers — who build the launch pads — just for this one mission,” Godfrey said.

Kalispell Middle School seventh-grader Hollee Norton pumped air into water contained in the bottle rocket before counting down, “three, two, one.” Norton’s partner, Browning Middle School eighth-grader Leslie Schildt, yanked a rope and the rocket was thrust into the air. 

Each group designed “fins” on the side of the rockets to steer the rockets. Norton said the point is to space the fins equally for air flow.

Volunteer presenter Kendra Kuhl, a 2000 Flathead High School graduate, made a special flight from California to lead a workshop on energy transformation.

“You can certainly go all the way in science and there’s nothing stopping you coming from the Flathead Valley,” Kuhl said.

Kuhl recently finished doing applied research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is co-founding a start-up to recycle carbon dioxide. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montana she earned a doctorate in chemistry at Stanford University.
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Source: Daily Inter Lake