Lawrence University has been awarded a $3,695 grant from the Women’s Fund of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, Inc. to encourage science and math interests among area middle school girls.
Beginning next month, Lawrence will launch the outreach program Partners Reaching Youth in Science and Math — PRYSM — which will match women students from Lawrence with strong interests in mathematics and science with eighth-grade girls from Appleton’s Roosevelt Middle School.
The one-on-one partnerships are designed to encourage the middle school students’ math and science interests and foster self-confidence in their individual skills. Program organizers are expected to provide 10 partnership matches initially, with hopes of establishing as many as two dozen one-on-one partnerships when school resumes next fall.
As part of the PRYSM program, Lawrence will host a “Celebrate Science and Math Day,” Saturday, April 12 for all interested seventh- and eighth-grade girls and one of their parents from the five Appleton middle schools. The free, day-long celebration will feature hands-on workshops in biology, chemistry, geology and mathematics led by Lawrence faculty and students as well as science and math teachers from Appleton schools.
“This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen the community ties between Lawrence and the Appleton schools, especially with girls who may have never been on a college campus before, and we’re grateful for the Community Foundation’s support for it,” said Karen Nordell, assistant professor of chemistry, who will co-direct the PRYSM program along with Eugenie Hunsicker, assistant professor of mathematics. “Research has indicated trends in ‘interest attrition’ in math and the sciences among girls during middle school. Through the PRYSM program, we’re hoping to nurture and encourage those interests among female students during that crucial period in their education.”
Any Appleton seventh- and eight-grade girls interested in participating in the Celebrate Math and Science Day can register for the event by calling 832-7685 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.