ASPIRE Workshop

By Natalie Keyes, Megan Harberts, Nancy Santagata, and Amy Connolly


Natalie concentrates on her ASPIRE computing project, where she learned to perform the same calculations are used to search for radio impulses produced by neutrinos in Antarctica.

“I had gone to the week-long GRASP physics camp at OSU during middle school and learned a lot from it, so as soon as my mom got a notice about ASPIRE, a high school physics workshop, I knew I wanted to apply. I was interested in physics and computer science, but I hadn’t gotten much experience in either area, so the workshop’s promise of hands-on learning about physics was very exciting to me. Sure enough, my 2 days at ASPIRE were some of the most educational and enjoyable I had last summer! I made friends at the workshop from the first hour—it was wonderful to meet a variety of girls who shared my enthusiasm for science. Even better, however, was the immersion in fascinating physics concepts, many of which were new to me. From neutrino events and electromagnetism to radio astronomy, I found myself with new perspectives on the physics that I knew and came away with a larger knowledge base than I had before, as well as more confidence in myself. I loved getting to use oscilloscopes and modeling software to problem-solve—I felt very powerful, putting my knowledge to work like a real physicist.   I am so happy that I attended this workshop!” -Natalie Keyes, the high school board member at A Day in the Life

On June 5th and 6th, 2014, the first annual Achieving in Science through Physics Instrumentation, Research, and Exploration (ASPIRE) workshop kicked off in The Ohio State University’s Department of Physics. Twenty young women from local high schools spent two days peering into how the ANITA experiment scans the Antarctic ice for characteristic radio signals in the search for neutrinos. The experience provided “aspiring” female scientists exposure to the same equipment and techniques used by real-life physicists in current research. More broadly, the ASPIRE workshop aims to give female students the opportunity to continue to pursue their interests in STEM in the gap between middle schools camps (like the GRASP camp that Natalie mentioned) and college and is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through Prof. Amy Connolly’s Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) Award.

Given the success of last year’s workshop, we here at A Day in the Life are very excited to announce that the 2015 ASPIRE Workshop will be held from August 10th-13th. This year, by request of past participants, we are expanding the duration to four days and incorporating even more hands-on projects and opportunities to interact with female researchers and professors at OSU. We encourage you (or someone that you know) to apply for this workshop, even if you are not sure if physics or science is what you want to do!  The deadline is July 24th, 2015.

For more information, and to apply, visit:

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