LIGO focuses on women in science

Kathy Holt and her students from LIGO on stage giving a presentation about the importance of science to girl scouts at the Big Event.

Cameron Johnson (left), Halenia Wilson (middle), and Kathy Holt (right)  from LIGO on stage giving a presentation about the importance of science to girl scouts at The Big Event.

Members from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) spoke to girl scouts at The Big Event by the Girl Scouts Louisiana East on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Kathy Holt, LIGO’s senior science education and outreach specialist, was asked to give a presentation to the girl scouts about LIGO.

“What I hope to do is get people excited and to get people aware about LIGO and its significance of it being in their community. I also want to talk about what opportunities it provides for not just for men, but also for women, ” said Holt.

Getting girls interested into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is very important to LIGO. “I see when I go to conferences the number of women in physics. Its few, but it is growing.  Letting young girls know that they can see themselves working at a place like LIGO. You just got to stay focused in your math, science, and engineering,” said Holt.

LIGO is reaching out to women in the community by offering opportunities to women in college.

Cameron Johnson, a sophomore mechanical engineering major at Southern University, is a student worker at LIGO. She spoke about getting a degree in a male dominated profession.

“In my classes, I rarely have any girls in my classes. Maybe about five girls in every class that I am in. If more women and girls can get involved in a STEM program, it will be better overall,” said Johnson.

Halenia Wilson, a sophomore nursing major at Southern University, is also working with LIGO. She discussed what she enjoyed the most about her experience with educating young girls in the community about science. “I get to interact with people that never knew anything about LIGO. To teach them there is more to science than what you learn in class, ” said Wilson.

LIGO wasn’t the only science organization interested in speaking to young girls about the importance of women in science at The Big Event.

Other science organizations that came out to The Big Event included the Association for Women in Science, Highland Road Park Observatory, NASA John C. Stennis Space Center, National Weather Service, New Orleans Geological Society, Southeastern Geophysical Society, and Society of Petroleum Engineers.

For more about LIGO, visit https://www.ligo.caltech.edu. For more information on Girl Scouts Louisiana East or The Big Event, visit http://www.gsle.org.

 

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