Girls Just Wanna Have Impact: 200 North Idaho girls to attend Women in Science in Coeur d'Alene Oct. 4-5

Monday, September 27 2010

Written by Donna Emert

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho – The Urban Dictionary defines “nerd” as “a four letter word, but a six-figure income.”

While six figures might seem like a pretty strong draw for students considering a career in the sciences, young women are looking for more, according to Anne Kern, a curriculum and instruction faculty member at University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene.

“Research shows that young women pursue careers in science for more altruistic reasons than young men,” says Kern, who researched and co-authored “Attracting High School Females to the College of Science,” a study published in the journal, The Montana Mathematics Enthusiast, earlier this year.

“In a word, young women want meaning,” Kern said. “They want their scientific work to have meaning. They want the science they do to have applications that solve real-world problems.”

Scott Wood, dean of the College of Science at University of Idaho, urged and has supported the development of a program to bring more young women into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math – or the STEM disciplines. Kern, working with microbiologist Dave Newcombe, developed a program tailored to North Idaho. The Women in Science program shows girls that science can have meaningful impact in their own back yard.

Approximately 200 10th grade girls from the nine North Idaho school districts have been selected to participate in the Women in Science program, Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 4-5. They were chosen by their teachers for illustrated science and math aptitude.

The Women in Science program is presented in partnership with North Idaho College and delivered by scientists and educators from both NIC and the University of Idaho. NIC microbiology professor Rhena Cooper, NIC Environmental Science and Geology Professor Julie Van Middlesworth, University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene Science Laboratory Manager Charlene Gibson, University of Idaho Statistician Michelle Wiest, University of Idaho Extension educator Laura Laumatia and Kern will work alongside participating high school students.

“The Women in Science program shows these girls that science really is relevant to their lives and to their community,” said Kern. “Water quality is a huge issue, locally and globally, so we decided to create an experience for the girls to measure water quality.”

The experience provides hands-on laboratory research and the opportunity to perform that work with seasoned women scientists.

Students will take part in scientific experiments and data analysis, tour science laboratories at North Idaho College and the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene, and have the opportunity to participate in additional science experiments.

Women in Science is sponsored by the University of Idaho College of Science, University of Idaho Coeur d'Alene, North Idaho College, the Idaho IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

For more information about the Women in Science program, including a complete schedule of events Oct. 4 and 5, visit or call the University of Idaho Coeur d'Alene at (208) 667-2588.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s land-grant institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year. The University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation classification for high research activity. The student population of 12,302 includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars, who select from more than 130 degree options in the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences; Art and Architecture; Business and Economics; Education; Engineering; Law; Letters, Arts and Social Sciences; Natural Resources; and Science. The university also is charged with the statewide mission for medical education through the WWAMI program. The university combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities and focuses on helping students to succeed and become leaders. It is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For more information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit