Monday, June 6, 2011

Association for Women Geoscientist catch up post

Well it appears summer is finally here, but before we commit spring to a distant soggy cold memory, I wanted to post a few pictures from some volunteer work I did these past few months.

Late March is when the regional science fair is held here in the Salt Lake Valley.  An organization I belong to, the Salt Lake Chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists, puts almost $400 toward cash and prizes for top projects by girls that contain a geology component. Our national foundation matches that, so together we award up to $100 each to 9 girls for a great project.  To do this involves me reading through about 300 abstracts by 5th through 12th graders to pick out those projects that have some geology in them, then rounding up and coordinating five of our members to interview and judge those projects,

 me, Sally, Katie

 Steph, April, Leann

then meeting with the judges to get their final decisions and making up some nice award certificates for the girls.  The judging involves reviewing each project board and an interview with the student.

  The project floor

  Students hanging out waiting to be judged.

Each student is judged on how well her project followed the scientific method (theory, experiment, reproducibility) originality, and presentation.  It is pretty cool to see kids so excited about science!

The best part about this year is that the winner of our junior division last year was a winner in the senior division this year, which means that we probably have a budding earth scientist in our midst.  Hopefully our cash and prize last year encouraged her to stick with the subject.

The final part of organizing this outreach project is to present our awards at the award ceremony after a genuine mad scientist wowed the crowd with weird science. 

After the science fair was over, it was time to switch gears to our April 29th fundraiser, the 22nd Annual AWG-SLC Silent Auction and Wine Tasting Scholarship Benefit.  I took on the big job of gathering items to put out for our silent auction. With the work of a fabulously motivated auction committee, we complied 156 items by 49 different donors ranging from original artwork by award winning local artists to gift certificates for dinners and massages and everything in between, including, my favorites, natural stone jewelry and rocks! 
 One of the item tables.
  Guests mingling around the item tables.
   Guests bidding on items.

Our venue was the Founders Room on the 18th floor of the downtown Zions Bank building (thanks Zions Bank for the free use of the space!), which comes complete with a grand sweeping view of sunset over the Great Salt Lake.
  Steph, Britney and Katie working the door.

We had delicious food and went through dozens of bottles of wine.  Our attendance was up this year to about 119 super generous people, which combined paid out $3271 in the silent auction!  While Drew worked the bar along with a few of the other members' husbands, earning $78 in tips, I was out bidding on items.  Because the hard work of gathering items was over, I let myself indulge in a bit too much wine, which is probably why we went home with a few items of jewelry and and the promise of an original caricature drawing of Drew and me by famous Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley!   
Me, cartoonist Pat Bagley, and former state geologist Genevieve Atwood.

This was all in the name of raising money for scholarships, which we awarded and presented that night to four bright young geology majors.

 Chapter president April Abate-Adams at the podium awarding $3750 in scholarships.

Our gross total raised including entrance donations, private donations, corporate donations, and the silent auction was $6200!  Doing everything on the cheap with volunteer labor, we netted $4600, which makes it one of our best fundraisers in years thanks to the hard work of our fundraiser committee. Great work ladies!

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