Girl Scouts Now! SBVC hosts “STEM for girls” workshop & tour

Thank you to our Classroom To Career Sponsors!

Girls mixing boric acid with silicone oil to create Silly Putty, an example of chemical engineering.

Girls from our Classroom To Career program had a crazy good time today at San Bernardino Valley College as they learned more about different STEM career paths.

Marc Donnhauser, SBVC HSI STEM PASS GO Director, and Henry Hua, Dean of Mathematics, Business and Computer Sciences Department.

The Colton Middle School gals were warmly welcomed by Henry Hua, SBVC  Mathematics, Business and Computer Technology Dean, Marc Donnhauser, SBVC HSI STEM PASS GO Director,  and their enthusiastic staff Friday morning.

“You are going to be a chemical engineer major and you’re going to design something for us today,” said Daniele Ramsey, a STEM counselor at SBVC.

The girls looked nervously around. Several were even reluctant.

Me, an engineer? 

But the girls were invigorated just as quickly as they had been hesitant.  Mr. Donnhauser’s staff reminded the girls that they were already acquainted with chemical engineering in their everyday lives.

“What am I standing on?” asked Ms. Ramsey. The girls answered, “tennis shoes!”

“That’s right, and shoes are made of rubber.”

Rubber – specifically Silly Putty –  it would turn out, was the science activity for that morning. The girls learned a little more  about the origins of the bouncy play putty.

During WWII, all rubber products were rationed and researchers (or chemical engineers) set out to discover a cheaper substance to replace rubber.

The non-toxic putty was discovered by mixing boric acid with silicone oil. Today in the classroom, the girls mixed these ingredients to create their very own versions of Silly Putty, a substance that Apollo 8 astronauts took into lunar orbit.

Needless to say, the Colton MS ladies had a blast making the gooey, bouncy material.

“It’s very heartwarming to see the excitement in these girls,” said Dean Hua, who has two young daughters himself.

“Many girls don’t get exposure to STEM careers until it’s too late. That’s why we were happy to partner with the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio and Colton Middle School. We want them to know we are here and interested in their success,” he said.

Colton Middle School girls learn to code using fun teaching instructions from Angry Birds and Plants Vs. Zombies.

Moving on, the girls spent the next hour with Dean Hua and the SBVC Computer Engineering Club learning to code. That’s right, GSSGC is very proud to say we have our very own group of Girls Who Code!

The girls learned to code movements for the popular mobile app games Angry Birds and Plants Vs. Zombies.

Deana Aguilar, a Colton student, told us how the workshop opened her eyes to new possibilities. “I’d never thought about this career [in computer science] before because no one has ever shown me how it works. Now I really like  it.”

“I like that we could actually control the bird and make it move,” said “R,” another Colton MS student.

The girls concluded the event with a campus tour led by SBVC Outreach and Recruitment staff.

Student “R” summed up the experience beautifully: “To have control and make your own decisions, it’s empowering.”

The faces of Girl Scouts Now! show that GSSGC is helping young women gain 21st century skills that will propel them into a brighter future.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s