For one hour on May 14 five young women from throughout Wyoming got a taste of the life of an environmental scientist at WRI. In a second-floor laboratory, they each inserted a probe into a sample jar and discovered the contamination level of a soil or water sample using the WRI-developed X-Wand device.
Questions such as “Do you have a patent?” and “Can you tell me about the jar?” and “Are we safe here?” allowed the participants to learn about laboratory procedures, septum lids and volatile organic compounds in headspace, and the process of protecting intellectual property. In the end, they were able to make connections between laboratory procedures, field work and opportunities to contribute to clean drinking water for communities.
The workshop presented by WRI Lead Scientist Susan Sorini was part of the Women in Science Conference, which brought more than 300 young women in grades 7 through 12 to the University of Wyoming to learn first-hand about careers in science, mathematics, and technology from accomplished professional women.
A scientist at WRI for 25 years, Sorini has authored or co-authored more than 70 publications and been named on four U.S. patents. In February, she was awarded the Award of Merit and named a Fellow of ASTM International, one of the largest voluntary standards development organizations in the world.
As a not-for-profit research organization affiliated with the University of Wyoming, educational outreach is an element of WRI’s research mission.