On Thursday 11 April, 23 girls from RSG Broklede will visit the Faculty of Science and 24 girls from the Aboedaoed School will visit the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. These visits are part of the national Girlsday: a day for girls from 10 to 15 years with the goal to get them interested in science, technology and ICT at an early age. Girlsday is an initiative of VHTO, the national expert organisation on girls/women and science/technology, which Utrecht University is a part of.
Young girls introduced to Utrecht University on Girlsday
In the Faculty of Science, the girls are welcomed by ICT-Department Head Marjon Engelbarts. After that, the girls get to work on programming a hit together. They are introduced to programming and Computer Science. Glassblowing at the Scientific Instrumentation Department, "Cutting into pizzas and other geometrical objects" and "Molecular cooking of proteins" are also parts of the programme.
“A diverse programme that lets the girls look behind the scenes at the Faculty of Science and introduces them to a number of enthusiastic women who work within the faculty,” says Irene Geurts on behalf of the organisation. “The faculty thinks diversity is important, and loves to show how appealing the sciences can be by introducing the girls to women within the Faculty of Science who can serve as role models. Besides that, Girlsday links up well with the goals of the U-talent programme. This introduces future students to science and technology education, and strives to strengthen the connection between secondary schools and higher education.”
At Veterinary Medicine, the pupils are introduced to laboratory research into diseases. The pupils will look for the cause of inflamed udders of cows and investigate skin conditions in dogs, cats AND their owners, among other things. They will also look for the cause of snivelling kittens and diarrhoea in puppies. They will look at coloured bacteria, moulds and fluorescent viruses under the microscope. Growth plates will make the growth of bacteria and moulds visible to the naked eye. Viruses cannot be seen under a microscope, but the pupils can looks at cells that the virus multiplies in. Afterwards, the girls themselves will get to work on little experiments and pipettes to get a good image of what working with laboratory technology is like. During a tour on the Tolakker, the farm of the faculty, the girls will be educated on the use of the fertiliser robot, the milking machine, the feeding robot and the cows' little collars that measure all kinds of things, and they get to see the little lambs.
Marije Werelds, ICT-Department Head at Veterinary Medicine and an initiator of our participation in Girlsday, says: “We love to take our social responsibility, and so we collaborate in this beautiful initiative. Diversity is a spearhead, because we see this as added value to the quality of our primary processes. On top of that, much talent is wasted if girls/women continue to stay away from technology. That is why we love to take these pupils under our wing for one morning, and various women who work in technology for us will show what their subjects are about and what makes them so fun.”
Not only at Utrecht University will girls participate in Girlsday. Throughout the entire country, over 10,000 girls will get to work at hundreds of science, technology and ICT companies. Girlsday gives girls from 10-15 years the opportunity to broadly orient on their future possibilities. The day lets girls experience the undiscovered world of science, technology and ICT from up close. They get to take a look inside companies, meet (female) science/technology professionals and get to do some work of their own. VHTO, the national expert organisation on girls/women and science/technology, organises Girlsday 2019 in collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, and with TechniekTalent.nu.