Above: UIS Instructor Mary-Sheila Tracy instructs middle-school girls in creating robotic bugs, part of the Horace Mann-sponsored Girl Tech at UIS
Horace Mann is a company that takes education seriously, so it's no wonder that this year they have chosen to support UIS' Girl Tech camp, two days when middle school girls improve their education by exploring technology.
This year, on June 14 and 15, over 30 7th, 8th, and 9th grade girls gathered at UIS for the Computer Science Department's annual Girl Tech.
As it has in the past, Horace Mann gave a gift in support of this valuable educational experience for girls.
According to coordinator Mary Sheila Tracy (above right), "Horace Mann has been hugely generous to us this year, enabling us to offer more in depth technical activities and just have more fun. We are deeply appreciative."
Tracy, a UIS computer science instructor, was especially pleased to offer a session on molecular gastronomy (see video below). One of seven activities that all the girls took part in, molecular gastronomy offers a non-traditional approach to food preparation and food presentation.
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In the molecular gastronomy session, the girls made sushi using rice powder and coconut milk for the rice, sugar sheets for the nori, and a mixture of mild lactic acid and alginate, mixed with snow cone syrup, that ended up looking very much like caviar . Springfield community member Susan Sackett served as instructor in the session.
"With Horace Mann's help," Tracy says, "we were able to afford lab jackets for the girls and safety glasses. That made us feel much better about introducing them to this kind of science. And the girls loved it. When I walked past the room, all I could hear was giggles. They were fascinated."
Other sessions, which Horace Mann also supported, gave girls a chance to build robots, create animation, insert themselves in their favorite videos, and record short videos.
If you are interested in supporting Girl Tech, an annual educational opportunity for middle school girls, please contact the Office of Development at UIS. Girl Tech coordinators would be especially happy to offer scholarships to girls who cannot afford to attend. Your gift could help to make that happen.