They’re material girls

Gathered around the small stone furnace in Room 142 of McNutt Hall, a group of middle school girls watched in awe as Nathan Wyckoff, a graduate student in materials science and engineering at UMR, poured hot, yellow liquid glass into a ceramic mold to cool. While pouring the liquid, he explained to them that glass is formed at 1,050 degrees Celsius (1,922 degrees Fahrenheit), noting that brownies bake at only 350 degrees as a reference point.

Camper at It's a Girl Thing
Middle school girls went to camp at UMR this summer and learned — well before they will have to make out their high school schedules — that math and science can be fun. | photo by B.A. Rupert

As the girls watched the liquid cool into a blue glass bar, he explained what glass is composed of and that different elements can be added, such as cobalt in this instance, to make different colored glass. “Nearly none of them had seen hot glass before,” Wyckoff said.
Wyckoff’s hot glass demonstration was just the beginning of a three-day science camp for the girls. Called It’s a Girl Thing, the camp is aimed at girls in the seventh and eighth grades, and is designed to get more females interested in science and engineering. Throughout the camp, the girls learned about such things as explosives, water, genes and more.
Mary Reidmeyer, associate professor of materials science and engineering, introduced the girls to tempered glass, Silly Putty, shape-memory wire, aluminum nails, a superconductor and hydrogen fuel cells. “The girls enjoyed the tempered glass demonstration, the shape-memory wire and, of course, anything with liquid nitrogen,” she said.
Reidmeyer concluded her demonstration with a special treat for the girls: marshmallows frozen in liquid nitrogen. The goodies created frosty clouds when the girls bit into them. “My favorite part of the Material Girl demonstration was just about everything, but I really loved the marshmallows in the liquid nitrogen,” said Maggie Huff, a camper from Joplin. “I was already interested in science but coming to this camp made me even more interested and also made me appreciate it more.”
Reidmeyer believes that programs like It’s a Girl Thing are having a positive effect on her department and notes that female enrollment in materials science and engineering is up by 40 percent. She hopes that by offering these types of programs to girls, they will see math and science as fun and exciting.
“It is very important to give middle and junior high school girls the exposure to science before they have to make out their high school class schedule,” Reidmeyer says. “They need to see there is an interesting future for them in the science and technology fields.”
by Elizabeth Hogancamp

Around the Puck

Seeking TBI therapies

By Delia Croessmann, Complications from TBI can be life altering. They include post-traumatic seizures and hydrocephalus, as well as serious cognitive and psychological impairments, and the search for treatments to mitigate these neurodegenerative processes is on.

[Read More...]

Understanding the invisible injury

Students advance traumatic brain injury research By Sarah Potter, “Research is creating new knowledge.”–Neil Armstrong  Research keeps professors on the vanguard of knowledge in their fields and allows students to gain a deeper understanding of their area of study. For students and recent graduates researching traumatic brain injury (TBI) at Missouri S&T, the work […]

[Read More...]

Analyzing small molecules for big results

By Delia Croessmann, At only 28 years old, Casey Burton, Chem’13, PhD Chem’17, director of medical research at Phelps Health in Rolla and an adjunct professor of chemistry at Missouri S&T, is poised to become a prodigious bioanalytical researcher.

[Read More...]

To prevent and protect

By Peter Ehrhard, Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are an unfortunate but all too common occurrence during military training and deployment. Because mild TBIs often present no obvious signs of head trauma or facial lacerations, they are the most difficult to diagnose at the time of the injury, and patients often perceive the impact as […]

[Read More...]


Toughest class … ever Some of your classes may have been a breeze, but others kept you up at all hours studying, and some of you struggled just to pass. As part of his research for the S&T 150th anniversary history book, Larry Gragg , Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor emeritus of history and political science, asked […]

[Read More...]