Tomorrow’s Women in Science

By Lina Younes

This past weekend I took my youngest daughter to the Girl Scout Day at the National Air and Space Museum. Girl Scout troops from Virginia and neighboring states went to the Steven F. Uvar-Hazy Center to participate in the day’s events in celebration of Women’s History Month.

There were a variety of hands-on science and art activities among the museum’s exhibits. Some focused on physics, aerodynamics, astronomy, and basic computer programming among others science disciplines. We saw a demonstration on the effects of the lack of pressure in space using a marshmallow. It was interesting. The girls seemed fascinated by the experiment. We even had the opportunity to fly a plane! Well, not exactly. We flew and attempted to land a plane using a flight simulator. We were not that successful in the landing, though. Wish the line had not been so long so that we could have tried multiple times to get it right. It was fun!

While at the museum, we also browsed the collection dedicated to space exploration. The Space Shuttle Enterprise is one of the major objects on display. I looked in awe at the exhibits and space artifacts showcasing our role in space exploration. I was slightly saddened by the fact that many of the young girls there really couldn’t appreciate all the technological advancements resulting from the Apollo and Shuttle programs. They will only read about it in history books or view old video footage. I still remember watching the first lunar landing.  Don’t think today’s youth can grasp the magnitude of those achievements by just reading about it. It’s just not the same.

While we were at the museum, I overheard two of the older girl scouts volunteers talking about their college choices. One had just received several college acceptance letters to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. Who knows, maybe among those young girls attending the Women’s History Month events there will be a future astronaut like Sally Ride.  How about a future environmentalist like Rachel Carlson?  Looking forward to the future. As always, would love to hear from you.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and currently serves as Acting Associate Director for Environmental Education. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

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