Ben Lemphers/for metro edmonton


Vivian Allison performs a flame test in a U of A Chemistry Lab yesterday while classmates Jenn Ingram, left, and Sarah Dupuit look on. All three Grade 6 girls attend Greenfield School. The exercise, which identifies different metals based on what colour they initially burn, was one of many labs put on for Grade 6 girls from across the city.


Engineering and science experiments aren’t just for boys and yesterday’s 2008 Choices Conference for girls at the University of Alberta helped prove just that.

About 600 Grade 6 girls and their teachers from Edmonton and area were invited to the university’s 18th annual Choices Conference celebrating 25 years of Women in Scholarship, Engineering, Science and Technology (WISEST).

Volunteer Natasha Kuzbik, who has a master’s degree in biomedical engineering, hosted the students as they participated in various lab experiments on campus yesterday.

"This is to give students the opportunity to come and get excited and interested in engineering and science and to open their minds to all the career possibilities," she told Metro.

Kuzbik said the program targets 10- and 11-year-olds because they still have enough time to take the proper high school courses to pursue a science career.

Grade 6 student Gillian Spadafora said she wants to be either a pharmacist or a chemist when she grows up.

"I was really excited to come today. I like chemistry and experimenting with stuff," the 11-year-old said. She was one of the four students from J.H. Picard school chosen to attend after submitting a letter saying why she was a good candidate.

J.H Picard teacher Janice Barton said the program is a great opportunity for the students to broaden their horizons.

"I think it gives them choices and opens their minds to things they may not have been exposed to before and I have actually seen girls go through the program and pursue a career after in the field," Barton said.