Engineering students hold a 'Bubble Bonanza' for Bethany girls

GEM
Alyssa, a sixth-grader at Bethany Community School, blows a bubble as Quinnipiac student Kevin Crupi watches. Members of the University’s Engineering Student Organization visited the elementary school’s Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club on Feb. 7.

Feb. 12, 2014 - Members of Quinnipiac's Engineering Student Organization visited Bethany Community School's Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club on Feb. 7.

The Quinnipiac students were: Gabriela Gualpa, a sophomore industrial engineering major from Naugatuck; Christina Benak, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Waterford; Kevin Crupi, a sophomore civil engineering major from Brooklyn, N.Y.; Rachel Davis, a freshman mechanical engineering major from Athens, Tenn. and Keegan Etter, sophomore mechanical engineering major from Hamden.

The college students taught a lesson called "Bubble Bonanza," in which the Bethany girls studied bubbles and made bubble wands out of materials such as string, wire, construction paper, rubber bands and tape. 

"This is an opportunity for the girls to learn more about the engineering process and get to know the Quinnipiac name," said Gualpa, president of the Quinnipiac Engineering Student Organization. "To see so many students staying after school to learn about engineering, which I love, is inspiring."

Michelle Schwenger, enrichment teacher at Bethany Community School, advises the 40-member GEMS Club. She said she invited the Quinnipiac engineering students through her association with Lucie Howell, director of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Science, Teaching and Learning at Quinnipiac

The GEMS club meets every two weeks, with Marie Schussler, a Quinnipiac graduate student from Greenlawn N.Y. who is completing her student teaching at Bethany Community School, serving as an assistant to Schwenger. 

"We try to expose the girls to as many STEM-related fields and careers as we can," Schwenger said. "We've had doctors, forensic experts, computer programmers and gardeners. We love having the presenters come in and talk about how they got to where they are and we love to have college students so we can stress the importance of education."

Schwenger added that "inquiry-based activities" such as the bubble lesson keep the young students engaged.

"I like science, so maybe when I grow up I might know what I want to be quicker," said Marilla, a sixth-grader at Bethany Community School. "The GEMS Club is fun. We do a lot of projects and it's easier to learn by doing hands-on projects."