Similar programs for middle school girls exist elsewhere in the country, but the idea for Saturday's workshop came partly from FGCU professor Terry Dubetz.
Ever since a speaker at a national educators' conference talked about the likely shortage of scientists in the country in the future, Dubetz
has wanted to do what she
could to encourage more people to pursue a career in science.
The workshop wasn't meant to encourage girls to become scientists rather than boys, she
said, but to help make sure as many people as possible go into science.
Since attending Saturday's event was a choice â€" many girls said they were passing up a few more hours of television or time on the computer â€" most already had some interest in science.When Dubetz
asked, all the girls planned to study biology in high school, and some thought chemistry would be fun.But no one expressed interest in physics.
Dubetz hopes that might change, though it mirrors patterns of interest among older students now.While more undergraduate biology majors are women than men, Dubetz
said, in graduate school and beyond, particularly in fields such as physics, chemistry, math and engineering, the majority of students continue to be men.Dubetz's conclusion is that there must be untapped interest among girls like those at Saturday's event.
encouraged them to reconsider other fields of science â€" light and lasers are fun, too, she