On May 24th, YWIB-San Francisco Bay Area volunteers participated in the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Fair at the Athenian School in Danville, CA. This annual, student-organized event encourages students’ interest in STEM fields through a series of booths with hands-on science and engineering activities, a keynote speaker, and a panel discussion from women working in STEM fields.
YWIB had a hands-on activity booth with three different activities. Attendees worked with volunteers to build edible models of DNA, using different colors of candies to represent different nucleotide bases and licorice ropes to represent a double helical backbone. This activity was meant to illustrate base pairing and the structure of DNA, and it was a big hit with the younger attendees. A second activity illustrated chemical polymerization, using Borax and glue to create bouncy balls, which was fun for both the students and their parents. Lastly, students watched the change in color of solutions containing a pH-sensitive universal indicator as a response to their exhaled breaths. The exhaled carbon dioxide slightly lowers the pH of the solution, causing the color change.
While making bouncy balls or models of DNA, several students also took the opportunity to interact with the YWIB volunteers and get to know them. The students asked thoughtful questions about careers in science, practiced their networking skills, and asked for advice on choosing college majors and even graduate degrees.
The hands-on activities were followed by a keynote address given by Bindu Garapaty of Gilead Sciences, and a panel discussion in which five Bay Area women, including Barbara Troupin, MD, MBA, CMO at ERX Pharmaceuticals and YWIB-SF co-chair, shared insights on their career trajectory and experiences. Both the keynote speaker and the panel members spoke to the importance of mentorship, challenges and disparities women may face in the workplace, and advice on how to navigate difficult situations.
YWIB looks forward to participating in the WiSE Fair again in future years!