Girls Get Science!

Home/Events/Girls Get Science!
Girls Get Science! 2017-09-21T08:04:28+00:00

Next Girls Get Science: Sat. Oct. 7, 2017 5:30 to 8pm

venue: Garrett Park E.S., Kensington, MD.

Check back for full info and registration links

scroll down for details


Please let us know if your school or organization would like to host or sponsor a future event!


The Great Adventure Lab holds Girls Get Science events to get more girls interested in science and engineering at an early age.

The Great Adventure Lab encourages girls especially to explore and enjoy the world of science, robotics, engineering, chemistry, biology and more!

Studies have shown that as early as second grade, both girls and boys are more likely to associate math with boys rather than girls. In our own classes, boys make up two thirds or more of our students. But they don’t make up two thirds or more of the population. So what’s happening?

What’s happening is that knowingly or unknowingly, ads, teachers and even parents are somehow giving girls the impression that they are not that ‘good’ at science and math. This could be something blatant like telling a girls to play with dolls instead of messing with her brothers’ trains, or it can be much more subtle, like never even considering the idea that your girl might be interested in say, electronics.

The girls in our classes are awesome! and often ‘beat’ the boys in competition. In fact, that’s the story behind this photo: the girls pictured at left were the winning team in a contest to use the strength of triangles to build the tallest tower in our Young Engineers class!

To make girls feel more comfortable exploring the world of science, we started a series of parent-daughter events called Girls Get Science. Girls get to play with robotics, programming and more in an all-girl environment, and they and their parents get to meet and learn about the careers of leading women scientists and engineers. We have drawn a lot of speakers form NASA and local companies.

These events are great fun! Please attend!  We’d love to inspire your daughter!

Our speakers for March 18th, 2017

Dr. Melissa Trainer, NASA Planetary Environments Laboratory

Dr. Trainer examines the atmosphere of planets that are currently lifeless.  She is looking for the molecules that are the building blocks of life.  Right now she is looking at one of Saturn’s moons, Titan, whose atmosphere contains methane; and analyzing data from the Curiosity rover to study the atmospheric composition of Mars.

How can we explore the atmosphere of Titan, whose temperatures are about -180 degrees Celcius — that’s -288 degrees Fahrenheit!  If you put a penny or a plastic spoon into this liquid, it would instantly freeze and crack. Dr. Trainer’s team is investigating sending a robotic boat! She is also working with other to send a probe to the super-hot, high pressured atmosphere of Venus.

“One of the coolest things I’ve done at Goddard was develop a special piece of equipment that essentially sips the cold lake liquid. We had to use special materials to protect against the extreme cold and to make sure that the sipper would actually work in the lake liquid. It took some doing, but we were able to make it work,” Dr. Trainer says.

Ph. D. Chemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO    

B.A. Chemistry, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA


Dr. Lori Glaze, NASA Deputy Director, Solar System Exploration Division

Dr. Glaze is the Principal Investigator for the proposed mission to Venus known as the Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging, or DAVINCI. This mission would send a probe on a journey down through Venus’ atmosphere, winding up in the planet’s roughest and most geologically complex terrain. The probe would explore the planet’s atmosphere essentially from top to bottom, even the deep layers largely hidden from Earth-based instruments and orbiting spacecraft.

Her research interests include physical processes in terrestrial and planetary volcanology, atmospheric transport and diffusion processes, and geologic mass movements.  She explained her interest in volcanoes in a 2014 interview for Women in Planetary Sciences. “I was drawn to volcanoes ever since I went to the Pompeii AD 79 traveling exhibit as a teenager in 1979.  I was also living in Seattle when Mount Saint Helen’s erupted in 1980. I was really intrigued by that eruption.”  Ask her to explain the difference between pahoehoe and a’aa lava!

1985 – B.A. Physics, University of Texas, Arlington, TX

1989 – M.S. Physics, University of Texas, Arlington, TX

1994 – Ph. D. Environmental Science, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK


Julia Royster, Marine Resource Habitat Specialist at NOAA Restoration Center

Ms. Royster works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Restoration Center. where she helps restore coastal, marine, and migratory fish habitats. This includes opening rivers to fish, reconnecting coastal wastelands, restoring corals  and rebuilding shellfish populations. In Maryland, NOAA’s Restoration Center has spent many years improving fish passage on the Patapsco and restoring oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.

For the past eight years, Ms. Royster has managed projects restoring coral reefs, oyster reefs, and enhancing fish passage in Maryland, the East Coast, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.

Ms. Royster has also worked all over the world: on the East Coast of the U.S., in the Caribbean, Australia, Fiji, Honduras and Belize. We wish we had her job! Along the way, she worked at Marine Protected Areas in Australia and the U.S., assessed coral reefs in Australia, Fiji, Honduras, and Belize, managed people, wildlife, and birds,  taught kids on a barrier beach in Rhode Island where she tagged horse crabs and monitored endangered Piping Plover that nest on the beach.


B.S., Biology, St. Olaf College

Graduate Certificate in Tropical Biology and Conservation, University of Missouri, St. Louis.

M.S.,  Environmental Science and Management, University of Rhode Island



SOLD OUT: Saturday, Nov. 18th, 2016 5:30 to 8pm

 Forcey Christian School, Silver Spring, Md.

SOLD OUT: Saturday, April 9th, 2016 5:30 to 8pm

 Forcey Christian School, Silver Spring, Md.



Please join us for this wonderful event. It is absolutely inspiring to see scores of girls, laughing and having fun while learning about science from women scientists in an all-girls environment!

Girls Get Science is a two-hour event for parents and daughters, grades K-5, from any school. Bring your science lovers AND your science phobics.

During the first hour, girls attend mini-workshops in robotics, video game programming and/or engineering, while their parents hear our panel of women scientists adiscuss how to make science and engineering more fun and less intimidating for girls. During the second hour, parents reunite with their daughters and rotate through presentations by our panelists.

Workshops by grade:

K-1:  Nature Science and Intro to Video Game Programming

K-1: Nature Science and Lego Engineers

2-4 Lego Robotics and Video Game Programming

2-4 Lego Robotics and Young Engineers

5-6 Mindstorms and Video Game Programming

5-6 Mindstorms and 3-D Design

Ticket prices:

Parent-daughter ticket: $35

Parent + 2 daughters $50

Two parents + 1 daughter $45

Don’t miss out on this chance to let our speakers

and instructors inspire your daughter!



drDr. Tamira Butler, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Tamira Butler is a post-doctoral scientist at the National Institutes of Health, where she investigates the roles of small RNAs in bacteria. During her graduate research, Dr. Butler worked with Plasmodium falciparum, the parasites that cause malaria. She discovered a new vesicular structure in human red blood cells infected with malaria. Understanding these vesicles could lead to new and better treatments for people infected with P. falciparum.

Dr. Butler earned her PhD in Biology and Biomedical Sciences from Washington University in St. Louis, and a B.S. in Chemistry-Biochemistry from Florida A & M University.  When she’s not working on new cures for parasitic diseases, she teaches for The Great Adventure Lab!



Dr. Cari Corrigan, Geologist, division of Meteorites, Smithsonian

Dr. Cari Corrigan is bringing meteorites to show the girls! She is the curator of Antarctic meteorites at the Smithsonian. She studies meteorites from the Moon, Mars and asteroids in order to understand how the Solar System — and particularly its rocky planets — formed,  and to learn how the impact cratering process affects these planetary materials.

She  is also involved in the Mars Exploration Rover project, processing images that come down from the Opportunity Rover. She has been to Antarctica twice to collect meteorites with the Antarctic Search for Meteorites program (ANSMET) and would go back again in a heartbeat!

Dr. Corrigan earned her PhD in planetary science from Case Western University. Her dissertation focused on Martian meteorites! She earned her master’s and bachelor’s in geology from Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich.

Dr. Molly McDonough – Biologist, National Museum of Natural History

 Dr. McDonough is a post-doc researcher who specializes in the study of small mammals, particularly African rodents. While she was earning her master’s degree in biology at Angelo State University (part of the Texas Tech University system), she studied specimins of Wagner’s bonneted bats, which are native to South America. She noticed some chromosomal differences in the specimins and convinced her faculty mentor to lead a field trip to Ecuador to trap more specimens. Research from that trip led to the discovery of a new species, Wilson’s bonneted bat, and Dr. McDonough was among those credited with the discovery!

She earned her PhD in biological sciences from Texas Tech University, an M.S. biology from Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas and a B.S. in Wildlife Biology from Texas State U.

Lisa White, Marine Resource Management, NOAA

Lisa White has conducted field work with various coastal and marine species from seabirds (piping plovers, terns, puffins), to sea turtles (leatherbacks, greens), to marine mammals (Hawaiian monk seals and our favorites,  humpback whales!).

She now works as a Marine Resource Management Specialist for the Office of Protected Resources at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration’s Fisheries division.  What does that mean? It means she monitors and reduces interactions between marine mammals and commercial fisheries.

Ms. White completed a Master’s of Environmental Management degree in coastal environmental management at Duke University. She holds a B.S. in biology from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.


Nancy Young, marine conservation, NOAANancy Young, Marine Resource Management, NOAA

Nancy Young specializes in protecting large whales and other species protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  Here’s her official title: She’s a marine resource management specialist for the Office of Protected Resources at National Oceanic and Atomospheric Admnistration’s Fisheries division. Phew! Sound familiar? She works with Lisa White, whose bio is above.

Ms. Young has previously worked for NOAA Fisheries in Honolulu and Florida, where she focused on reducing the impact of commercial fishing on marine mammals.

Ms. Young a Master of Environmental Management degree in coastal environmental management at Duke University and a Master of Research degree in marine mammal science at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.  She holds a B.S. in Earth and Ocean Science from Duke University.  In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and traveling.


Here is a slideshow of a past event:




Our Nov. 19, 2015 speakers were:

Florence Tan, Electrical Engineer, NASA

NASA engineers and scientists celebrate the successful landing of the Mars Rover, CuriosityFlorence Tan (second from right) is the lead electrical engineer on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) team. SAM is the laboratory inside the Mars Rover, Curiosity. When Curiosity collects rock samples from the Martian surface, SAM analyzes those samples for any signs of microbial life.

Ms. Tan is a graduate of the University of Maryland and has worked on various missions for NASA for more than two decades. She was born in a Malaysian fishing village. These days when she’s not communing with her instruments in outer space, you can find her leading impromptu yoga sessions for her NASA colleagues, or studying “The Joy of Lex” for winning Scrabble words. Ms. Tan spoke at our first Girls Get Science event in spring of 2011 – we’re pleased to have her back!

Dr. Jamie Elsila, Astrochemist, NASADr. Jamie Elsila, NASA will speak at The Great Adventure Lab's next Girls Get Science event, Sat. Nov. 14, 2015, at Parkland Middle School in Rockville, Md.

Dr. Jamie Elsila is an Astrochemist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She searches for the building blocks of life in the universe!  She is currently working on the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security–Regolith Explorer),  that will travel to the Bennu (RQ36) asteroid and bring back samples to Earth. These samples will help NASA investigate planet formation and the origin of life, and the data collected at the asteroid will also aid our understanding of asteroids that can impact Earth. Bennu has a 1-in-1,800 chance of impacting Earth in the year 2182!

Dr. Elsila has B.A. from Kalamazoo College and a PhD in Chemistry from Stanford University.  In between college and graduate school, she spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania.

Dr. Huda Asfour, Biomedical Engineer, GW

Huda Asfour of GWU is speaking at The Great Adventure Lab's Girls Get Science event

Dr. Huda Asfour specializes in cardiac electrophysiology as a postdoctoral scientist at George Washington University. Born in Lebanon in 1982, she has lived in Syria, Tunisia, Gaza, Ramallah and Egypt before moving to the U.S. to attend GW. Maybe you heard Dr. Asfour on her recent interview with WAMU. During the interview, she talks about growing up as a musician who happened to be good at math and science. When she told her math teacher of her intention to earn her living playing music, “He sort of flipped out,” Asfour told WAMU, laughing. “Then he made it his mission to convince me to actually try engineering.”

Dr. Asfour is still an active musician – who is fascinated with the electrophyiscs of the heart. Here is a link to her song, “Mars.” 

She  earned her PhD in biomedical engineering and electrical engineering from George Washington University. She earned undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering from George Washington University, the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Martime Transport in Alexandria Egypt; and Birzeit University in Palestine.




Our March 14, 2015 speakers were:

Dr. Veronica T. Pinnick, research associate, NASA


Dr. Veronica T. Pinnick is a research associate at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She is working on the development of a miniaturized ion trap mass spectrometer for Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) which will ride aboard the European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover, which is scheduled to launch from Russia in 2018. ExoMars will be able to drill two meters deep into the Martian surface, compared to the Curiosity Rover, which can drill a few inches deep. ExoMars will look for signs of life on Mars. In contrast, Curiosity is searching for signs of past habitable environments on Mars. Dr. Pinnick has a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Texas A&M University and a B.A. in Chemistry from Minot State University.



Dr. Caroline Freissinet, postdoctoral researcher, NASA


Dr. Caroline Freissinet is a postdoctoral researcher in NASA’s Solar System Exploration Division. She is part of the team of scientists who recently used Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument to make the first definitive detection of organic material on the Mars surface.
Dr. Freissinet is originally from France. Her research has taken her all over the globe, from aboard the Norwegian Polar Institute’s research vessel Lance in Norway to the glaciers of  Greenland … to NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, Md. She has a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from  Ecole Centrale in Paris, a master’s degree in genomic cell development evolution from the University of Paris and the equivalent of a B.S. in biology from Ecole Normale Superieure de Lyon.


Dr. Angela Hight Walker, Research Chemist, NIST

hightwalker-2Dr. Angela Hight Walker
 uses spectromety and other measurement methods to probe the underlying chemistry and physics of nanomaterials. Her mission: learn more about the physiochemical properties of nanomaterials so we can get a better idea of how to use them in medicine and energy. Among other things, she works with carbon nanotubes, which can disable key molecules in chemical weapons like Sarin. Researchers hope that one day, carbon nanotubes can be woven into clothing. You can read about that here. Last year, Dr. Hight Walker also co-organized of the Mid-Atlantic Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics,  which brought 135 women from 50 colleges and universities to Gaithersburg and College Park in 2014. She has a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics from Wesleyan University and a B.A. in Chemistry with a minor in Physics from Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.



Dr. Alina Alexeenko, Professor of Aeronautics, Purdue University

alexeenko-alina-GGS-purdueDr. Alina Alexeenko is an award winning and extensively published professor from Purdue University’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics.Her research focuses on rarefied gas flow phenomena that occur in high-altitude flight. That includes high-altitude aerothermodynamics and spacecraft contamination.Dr. Alexeenko also studies emerging technologies such as micro-electro-mechanical systems for space communications and micropropulsion in vacuum manufacturing processes. One of her long-term goals is finding more applications for rarefied gas dynamics!

She has a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Pennsylvania State University.

our October 2014 speakers were:

Sabrina Thompson: Aerospace and Flight Safety Engineer, NASA

Sabrina Thompson didn’t listen to her physics teacher when he told her she shouldn’t study mechanical engineering because it would be too hard for her. Now she has a degree as an aerospace engineer and works as a flight safety expert at NASA.

She encourages the next generation to pursue their dreams and refuse to settle for anything less than they are capable of achieving, just as many of those around her refused to let her settle. “They pushed me to limits I thought I could never cross and I am forever thankful,” she says. See her at left.

Oct. 11, 2014 speaker



Dr. Jennifer Scott: Astronomist, Towson University

Dr. Scott studies materials that flow out of active galaxies (the ones with bright centers, believed to be caused by black holes). She gets here data from telescopes all over world and of course, from the Hubble telescope in space. She was inspired to study science after watching Carl Sagan’s PBS series Cosmos as a child.

She holds a PhD in astronomy from the University of Arizona, Tucson and a B.S. in physics from the University of North Carolina. You can read more about here on the NASA website.



Speaker, Girls Get Science, October 11, 2014, Northfield E.S., Ellicott City, Md.

Georgette Alexander-Morrison: Orbital Sciences Corporation

Ms. Alexander-Morrison works to make sure that the satellites in space stay in one piece and on course.

She has worked on numerous projects over the years, including: the Hubble Space Telescope, the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer and the Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer.  She has a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida and a MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Tennessee.



Speaker, Girls Get Science, October 11, 2014, Northfield E.S., Ellicott City, Md.


Saturday March 15, 6pm – 8pm @venue Beverly Farms Elementary School, Potomac


Our March 15, 2014 speakers were:


Sabrina Thompson, a flight safety expert, NASA

NASA engineer Sabrina Thompson will speak at the March 15 Girls Get Science event presented by The Great Adventure Lab.

Ms. Thompson was told in high school that the math and science courses she’d have to take to become a mechanical engineer were too hard for her! Luckily, she didn’t listen. She went on to get a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY., and a master’s in aerospace engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta Georgia.

She encourages the next generation to pursue their dreams or passion and refuse to settle for less than they are capable of achieving, just as many of those around her wouldn’t let her settle.

“They pushed me to limits I thought I could never cross and I am forever thankful,” You can see Ms. Thompson’s interview for [email protected] at

Conversations with Goddard - Senetra Bailey

Sanetra Bailey, computer engineer, NASA

Sanetra Bailey writes programs for robotic satellites. She describes herself as a ‘uniquely adventurous Robot Designer!  “I design, build and test data processing field-programmable gate array hardware for various missions. The FPGA has a sea-of-gates design, similar to a box full of LEGOS of different sizes and shapes, which I use to build reconfigurable digital circuits.”

Ms. Bailey was encouraged to explore computer engineering as a career in high school, where she excelled in both math and science. If she had not become one, she thinks she would have become a fashion designer or seamstress instead! You can read more about her here.


Muzar Jah, Aerospace Engineer, NASA

Full title: Aerospace Reliability Engineer of Electronic Components.  Ms. Jah designs test plans, and implements testing of electronic components for space-based science instruments including, Gravity and Extreme Magnetism Small Explorer (GEMS- the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope), an Earth precipitation measurement satellite Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) and most recently, the James Webb Space Telescope. She has worked as an aerospace engineer at NASA since 2002.

Ms. Jah earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electical engineering from Howard University in Washington, D.C.