On March 2, the students who handled human organs, scrubbed in for surgery and made plaster casts for their feet were decidedly shorter than usual on the DMU campus: The University’s eighth annual Girls in Science Day drew the most-ever future physicians, scientists and leaders, with more than 200 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade girls from Des Moines elementary schools.
“Research has shown that this is a critical time in these girls’ lives – the point at which many of them lose interest in science and pass the subject off to their male counterparts,” says Ali D’Andelet, D.P.M.’15, one of many DMU students who volunteered during the morning program.
Hosted by the DMU Women’s Medical Alliance, Girls in Science Day invited participants to visit various stations for numerous hands-on experiences, from concocting Silly Putty at a chemistry station to practicing stitches on pigs’ feet. While a fair amount of giggling and oohing and ahhing ensued, the girls embraced the activities while connecting with DMU students.
“I may be an idealist, but I’d like to believe that in the course of those 30-minute sessions we changed their lives in some way,” D’Andelet says. “I hope our volunteers represented an embodiment of success for those girls, emphasizing the importance of believing in yourself and never giving up.”