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Mother Daughter Science Camp Offers Girls Insight into Future Pathways

March 8, 2024
Mother and daughter conduct a science experiment.
Mother and daughter conduct a science experiment.

Merced area fourth- and fifth-grade girls and their mothers recently participated in hands-on scientific projects in a UC Merced classroom laboratory that was transformed for one day into an exciting experimental space.

UC Merced’s NSF-funded CREST Center for Cellular and Biomolecular Machines (CCBM) hosted the event as part of the seven-week Mother Daughter Science Camp, organized by the Merced branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

The session leads and contributors included UC Merced staff and students Petia Gueorguieva, Carrie Kouadio, Abhinav Kumar, Karina Guadalupe, Brianna Aguilar-Solis, Abigail Gyamfi and Andrew Lozada, as well as Lisa Tarbell from Dignity Health and Alex Gueorguieva from UC Davis.

This Science Camp sessions took place in a chemistry laboratory classroom in the Biomedical Sciences and Physics Building and included two jam-packed hours of interactive content. With a focus on acid/base chemistry as well as pharmacy, the activities were both fun and educational for the 12 girls and their mothers, participants said.

“Watching young minds dive into challenging problems and explain their thought processes to others was truly inspiring,” said Guadalupe, a Ph.D. student in Professor Shahar Sukenik’s lab. “Sharing my passion for science and witnessing the enthusiasm of both the young girls and their mothers as they immersed themselves in the experiments was incredibly rewarding.”

The annual AAUW Mother Daughter Science Camp consists of sessions in biology, chemistry, math, physics, archaeology, soil science, engineering and computer science. Participants learn about different fields and associated careers, with each session led by a professional female who works in a related science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field. The program’s unique format provides participating students and mothers with an opportunity to network with and learn from a diverse group of women with extensive experience in STEM careers. 

Teaching girls and their mothers about STEM helps expose local families to opportunities in exciting and meaningful careers, organizers said. Experiences like the science camp can instill new ideas in participants and spark new interests and understandings, they emphasised.

“The AAUW Mother-Daughter Science camp is an event I look forward to every year. I love teaching the girls about chemistry and helping them see it in action through their own hands-on experiments,” said Alex Gueorguieva, a speaker at the event and a former attendee. “It's always so rewarding to witness the young ladies become excited and inspired by STEM.”

The NSF-CREST Center has participated in this event since 2019.

“This was the first outreach event I had ever done, and it was a fun one,” CCBM Student Success Intern Lozada said. “I enjoyed helping the mothers and daughters at the event, as well as being involved with an event that can hopefully encourage those students to pursue careers in STEM.”

For more info, please visit the CCBM Outreach website, the AAUW website and email Kouadio, CCBM executive director, at for further inquiries.