Saddleback College science faculty help Mission Viejo Girl Scouts earn patches

(Photo Courtesy Elisia Sierakowski)

Evelyn Caicedo

One hundred and twenty five Girl Scouts of Orange County swarmed Saddleback College on Saturday, Nov. 13 to learn from the departments of Mathematics, Sciences, and Engineering and received their badges of the sciences in the first ever event of Science Quest.

The day started with a flag ceremony welcoming the girls where they also had a chance to donate food for the holidays to the organization. The Girl Scouts ages ranged from those in kindergarten through high school.

The scouts participated in various events that involved several of the science instructors at Saddleback making it a very collaborated event.

“It is always a treat to welcome young visitors to the college and give them a glimpse into the incredible programs and faculty we have here,” said Jim Wright, dean of the Mathematics, Science, and Engineering division.

One of the events included a speech from chemistry instructor Jim Zoval who spoke about experiments completed by his undergraduate research group.

“It makes me feel good to show the younger generation a possible career choice that, for certain personalities, can be a fun way to earn a living and at the same time, make the quality of life better for others,” Zoval said.

He spoke about the development of an artificial, automated, wearable kidney for patients with End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in which the artificial kidney would provide an alternative therapy for patients that are receiving hemodialysis.

“Zoval gave such a great lecture, that Daisies through Girl Scout Leaders were talking about it several weeks after the event,” said Elisia Sierakowski, the event’s director. “He connected with everyone at every level.”

Biology instructor Steve Teh’s daughter Isabelle assisted Zoval in his presentation by blowing something up, which he had previously promised the Scouts.

“It ignited excitement,” Sierakowski said.

Another session was hosted by Dr. Scott Fier, chairman of the chemistry department. He helped the Scouts create strands of nylon that were 12 to 15 feet long that he had drawn from a tiny beaker.

The final session involved a webcam interview with a flight surgeon, Chris Tabatzky. She spoke about the different career choices available.

“Partnering with the Girl Scouts for the day was the perfect opportunity to show these young girls that science is a fun subject and can lead to great, interesting careers,” said Saddleback College President Tod A. Burnett.

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