The Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) will host a free introductory event for middle and high school girls about careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) on Sunday, March 9, from2 p.m.–5 p.m. on APL’s Laurel, Md., campus. “Girl Power” is a collaborative, annual effort between APL, the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County and the Maryland Space Business Roundtable. More than 750 girls attended last year’s program.
Back in July, we (along with everyone else who enjoys a little sky-gazing) got excited when we heard that an especially fizzy comet “the size of a small mountain” might be passing by earth on Thanksgiving. It was going to be the “comet of the century,” and Johns Hopkins astronomers were hard at work determining what, exactly it was made out of. Well, some of us went outside last night and looked — and saw a regular old sky, no soda pop comet to be seen.
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Lauren Gillis, GFS WISE student, at work in an engineering lab at Johns Hopkins University.
It’s 2013, and everyone still wants to know why there are so few women in science. With women making huge strides in workplace equality in other fields, science and engineering still remain largely boys’ clubs. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported on a study done at Yale showing that science professors, when presented with job applications from two young scientists with the same qualifications (one male, the other female), they were significantly more likely to offer the man a job. And if they did hire the woman, her salary would, on average, start about $4,000 lower than the man’s. Oof. Disappointing. But surprising? Maybe not.
We know that girls are rarely encouraged to pursue math and science—and those that do may lose their natural inclination toward the field when they face the reality of how tough it can be for women in the professional realm. But now imagine a place where young women are actively encouraged to pursue their interest in these fields. And it’s not just in the classroom. Here, upper school students get in-depth, immersive (read: really exciting) mentorships that take them into actual research laboratories. At John Hopkins. Of course, this place does exist, and it’s at Garrison Forest School– which is continuing to grow their fabulous WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) program.
The WISE program at Garrison Forest has been in existence for nine years now. And by the end of this year, almost a third of Garrison Forest students now participate by the time they graduate. In fact, the mentorship program is so popular that the school has introduced a new WISE program in Classics, with two students working on an epigraphy project last spring, at the JHU Archaeological Museum. They spent a semester studying a Roman funerary, and culminated their research by presenting their findings at two public gatherings at the museum — including an academic symposium at which they were the only high school presenters. Read More →
Jack Andraka, the North County High School sophomore from Crownsville who won the Intel Science Award in 2012 and who we wrote about last year, was featured last night on 60 Minutes. If you’re not familiar with the superstar student, watch the video. You’ll feel dumber, but proud!
To be honest, I didn’t know that famed environmentalist Rachel Carson had lived in Baltimore and attended Johns Hopkins until I read a contemporary environmentalist’s story of living in Carson’s former house. That’s why it was fun to read Gabriel Popkin’s account of Carson’s time at Hopkins, which (spoiler alert) didn’t go all that well.
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Since Johns Hopkins undergraduates spend so much time slaving away in labs for classes or research or just because they don’t have anything else better to do on a Friday night, it’s only fitting that those labs be beautiful. Hopkins has always had nice facilities, but this new 105,000 square-foot facility really takes the cake.
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This week the Brookings Institution released a report, “The Hidden STEM Economy,” a review of the concentration of jobs that require knowledge in science, technology, engineering or math by metropolitan area.
The San Jose metro area topped the list with roughly a third of its workforce in STEM. The Washington, D.C.-area was second, followed by Palm Ba, Fla. Boston placed sixth while Baltimore came in eighth. Read More →
Baltimore Fishbowl student intern Ethan Park had the privilege last week to hear attorneys argue the case over gene patents before the United States Supreme Court. Park, whose mother is a patent attorney, gives both sides of argument he heard that day in the country’s highest court. – The Eds.
Recently, in the landmark case AMP v. Myriad Genetics, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have endeavored to resolve the question: Are human genes patentable?
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled that Myriad Genetics’ patents directed to the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, whose variants are associated with an increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, are patentable subject matter.
The Association for Molecular Pathology (AMP) appealed to the Supreme Court, oral arguments were made just over a week ago before a packed courtroom, and a verdict is expected in June or July.
Patents expire 20 years from the filing date, and patent protection for the BRCA genes has given Myriad a monopoly over BRCA testing procedures, which brings in millions of dollars annually for the company. Myriad also has the right to deny competitors or individuals from further researching or producing the genes without their consent. Read More →
When Jack Andraka was a freshman (in high school!) last year, he invented a method for identifying pancreatic cancer that was cheaper, faster, and more accurate than the one most doctors were using. That invention won him the top prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair — an award that his older brother had twice been a finalist for. Yep, these kids are smart. So what’s the family secret? Herbal supplements? No TV? Lots of yelling and guilt?
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Ever considered what the Mick Jagger of educational children’s music would be like? Or who might deserve the title of The Boss of songs about recycling? The King of Pop(ular education about biodiversity)? Check out these lyrics from Billy B—the man who jams at 300 shows a year while helping spread the word about such poetic subjects as pollination:
Yo, I’m a flower, here comes the bee,
she wants to get, nectar from me.
My dusty pollen, she will also carry,
it will stick to her body,
because her body is hairy!
I think we’ve found our man. And you can catch him up close and personal this Saturday at the Creative Alliance. We don’t expect there’ll be screaming fans throwing their unmentionables at the guy (this crowd tends more toward throwing Cheerios and bouncy balls), but nonetheless, get ready for a rock star-caliber performance. Read More →
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