News Archive

posted 04/27/05

Girl Power Science

The ADVANCE program is co-sponsoring an event for middle and high school girls from the Lower East Side to spend Saturday, April 30 with the nation's top women scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The Observatory sponsors many outreach programs, including its annual Open House, where the above photo was taken.

On Saturday, April 30, approximately 40 girls in middle school and high school from the Lower East Side will travel to Lamont-Doherty's sprawling green campus in Palisades, New York, to meet with some of the nation’s top researchers and learn about critical topics in science not normally covered in the classroom.

This event is being co-sponsored by The Earth Institute's ADVANCE Program at Columbia University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory as part of an effort to promote science careers among young women living in New York City.

The day’s topics are scheduled to include: global ocean circulation and deep-sea formation; designing scientific questions for ecology; deep-sea cores; and integrating Earth and social science information to better understand urbanization.

The event aims to expose students to different topics in the natural sciences while inspiring them to pursue a lifelong passion for the Earth, both professionally and personally.

“This event will provide young women with a vision of the scientific career paths that are available to them, “ said Robin Bell, Director of ADVANCE at the Earth Institute and a Doherty Senior Research Scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “By allowing them to interact directly with cutting-edge research about the Earth, we hope to spark the imagination of future geoscientists.”

After a lunch of locally produced, organic food, students will then have an opportunity to get “up close and personal” with professionals from a range of science-related fields. First they will learn about a career in environmental science writing and journalism. Then, a panel discussion will introduce them to women who have made the Earth sciences an important part of their life’s work.

The students will interact with the Observatory’s researchers and take part in hands-on projects related to the discussions. Lamont-Doherty researchers involved in the event include:

Deborah L. Balk, Associate Research Scientist at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN);
Robin Robertson, Doherty Associate Research Scientist Department of Ocean and Climate Physics;
Nichole Anest, Senior Research Staff Assistant, Deep-Sea Sample Repository;
Sidney Hemming, Associate Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; and others.

Participants include professionals engaged in scientific research, environmental education and environmental policy at the following organizations:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation;
NYC Parks, Natural Resources Group;
The Institute for Scholarly & Ecological Research & Policy; and
The School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.

The event was organized by The Lower East Side Ecology Center, the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Earth Institute ADVANCE Program at Columbia University, and is part of a two-day schedule that will first take the girls to East River Park on April 29, where they will learn about today’s pressing environmental issues and how to protect the local environment through advocacy campaigns, hosted by the Lower East Side Ecology Center.

The Earth Institute at Columbia University is the world's leading academic center for the integrated study of Earth, its environment and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines—earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences—and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor. For more information, visit