Two alumni from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) will launch a campaign to bike across America so they can teach popup science classes. Starting on April 17, the tour will begin as an eco-friendly road trip.
The two graduates, Rachel Woods-Robinson and Elizabeth Case, will ride from San Francisco to New York City, covering more than 3,800 miles. Throughout their journey, the women will stop to provide students of middle school with quick lessons in physics, renewable energy, and solar power.
When asked about the adventure, Case admitted that the whole thing was somewhat frightening. The two women met in Europe while studying abroad. Daily, they would ride bikes everywhere they went. That love coupled with a passion for teaching science prompted the campaign, which is expected to have a big impact on many students.
Both women have always loved science and had a real zest for life so what better way to do what they enjoy most and as friends that will benefit kids around the country than to “Cycle for Science” As stated by Case, explanation of the world comes through science. The women’s goal is help both boys and girls understand that although they want to focus more on girls.
According to a report in the Economics and Statistics Administration published in 2011, less than 25% of jobs pertaining to math, science, engineering, and technology are in the US. In addition, it was reported in 2012 that just 33.5% of college freshman women planned to pursue degrees in engineering and science.
It was not until Case was well into her educational years with UCLA that her real passion for engineering and physics was discovered. Initially, her major was in English with her ultimate goal to become a journalist but instead, she changed majors to physics, the same subject studied by Woods-Robinson.
Case goes on to say that middle and high school girls do not really have a good role model in the fields of engineering and science. Because of that, seeing themselves as valuable and successful scientists is difficult. Typically, the term “scientist” conjures up visions of men with messed up hair in white lab coats.
“Cycle for Science” creates an amazing opportunity for girls and women to ask questions about the sciences. Even greater than that, the two women hope their campaign will prompt more teachers and even parents to focus on science.
Case offers a perfect example of a child playing in mud. As she states, there is an opportunity to have that child look at mud closer, to see within it are microbes. This gives that child a chance to learn more about the actual science of mud.
Throughout the campaign, the women will use a miniature 3D printable bicycle model they designed and created called Sol Cycle. In addition, teachers of schools visited will be interviewed, information on the importance of science shared, and stereotypes put to rest. Although the women know the trip will be hard, they also believe it will be highly successful and personally rewarding.