Outreach at Ursuline Academy of Dallas

October 1-2 (Fri-Sat), 2010

STORE Outreach and Education: Energy, Climate and Water in the 21st Century

Becky Smyth at GirlTalkIn preparation for Earth Science Week, STORE sponsored an Open House on critical issues surrounding energy, water and climate with Ursuline Academy, Dallas, Texas. See a storyboard below of the various events with photos of the community learning about critical issues surrounding the energy, climate and water nexus. A detailed schedule of the events is also available. All events were held at the LEED (Gold) certified French Family Science, Math and Techology Center.

*Find out more about Earth Science Week (October 16-20, 2010) and the 2010 theme "Exploring Energy" at the American Geological Institute's Earth Science Week website.


October 1, 2010 On Friday, we had over 800 high school girls participating in hands-on activities led by professionals, films and discussions, plenary sessions and an expert panel discussion. A detailed schedule of the events is also available. All events were held at the LEED (Gold) certified French Family Science, Math and Techology Center.


GirlTalk Presenting Team

GirlTalk at Ursuline Academy team: Cliff Clark (Luminant), Dr. Carlos Torres-Verdin (UT PGE), Becky Smyth (UT BEG), Precious Williams (UT grad student, PGE), Angelica Hernandez (UT grad student, PGE), Dr. Sue Hovorka (UT BEG), Dr. Hilary Olson (UTIG), Dr. Kathy Ellins (UTIG), Deborah Hempel-Medina (Williams and SPE), Dr. Katherine Romanak (UT BEG), Diane Brownlee (Ellison-Miles Geotechnology Institute), Dr. Jon Olson (UT PGE).

Opening Session An opening session by Dr. Hilary Olson on Energy, Water and Climate in the 21st Century: Critical Issues for the Global Community began the day for the 800 high school girls and 100 teachers.

Dr. Hilary Olson on Energy, Water and Climate in the 21st Century

A series of hands-on activities, and science and technology films with discussion followed. Each girl had an individualized schedule for the day.

A number of modules discussed energy and climate mitigation technology, specifically carbon sequestration.

Activities (click on links for photos and activity information)

*designates STORE member

A Day in the Life of a Petroleum Engineer Dr. Jon Olson*

Petroleum Geology - Petroleum Systems Analysis Ms. Iona Precious Williams*

What's in the Rock? A Study of How Rocks Can Hold Water, Oil and Natural Gas Ms. Deborah Hempel-Medina

The Energy Crisis: Fact or Fiction, and What You Can do about it Ms. Angelica Hernandez*

Electric Power Generation, Today and Tomorrow Mr. Cliff Clark

LEED Construction: Building an almost self-sustainable home with minimum impact to the surrounding environment Dr. Carlos Torres-Verdin*

CO2 - Too Much of a Good Thing? Dr. Sue Hovorka*

What to Do with CO2? Dr. Katherine Romanak*

GLOBE Activity: Exploring Connections Dr. Katherine Ellins

Paleo-Climate Analysis using Microfossils: A Record of Glacial and Interglacial Climate Cycles Preserved in Marine Sediments Dr. Hilary Clement Olson*

Geospatial Technology to Monitor Climate and Environmental Change at Lighthouse Reef Atoll, Belize Ms. Diane Brownlee

What is in the Water you Drink? Ms. Rebecca Smyth*

Lunchtime Session During lunch, Dr. Scott Tinker, Director of the Bureau of Economic Geology, presented a very interesting talk on Time, Technology and Transition. This presentation developed similar themes to a paper from the Bureau of Economic Geology for its 100th Anniversary. After Dr. Tinker's presentation, girls attended another round of hands-on activities in the afternoon, followed by a closing panel discussion with all the participants.

Scott Tinker at GirlTalk  Scott Tinker, Hilary Olson and Ursuline Staff

Dr. Tinker is shown above right with Betty Bourgeois (Principal, Ursuline Academy), Hilary Olson (Director, STORE), Rhonda Bush (Director of Curriculum) and Susan Bauer (Director of Technology) at GirlTalk at Ursuline Academy of Dallas.

Panel Discussion The day ended with a panel discussion where girls could submit questions to the various participants in the day's activities. Rhonda Bush, Director of Curriculum for Ursuline, facilitated the panel discussion (below) in the Ursuline Performing Arts Center. Due to the large number of studnet, a concurrent panel discussion was led by Jon Olson in the Ursuline Kiva.

Panel Discussion 

The exciting experience of GirlTalk led many of the high school girls to volunteer for the middle school event on the following day. And several of the high school participants expressed interest in geoscience and engineering careers, requesting more information and follow-up discussions with various University of Texas faculty and researchers.



October 2, 2010 We had some 150 middle school girls and their mentors (parents, teachers) on Saturday morning for the community-wide public event. Girls came from as far away as Houston, Texarkana and Abilene to learn about the energy, water and climate nexus. A detailed schedule of the events is also available. All events were held at the LEED (Gold) certified French Family Science, Math and Techology Center.


Breakfast with a ProBreakfast with a Pro The day began with breakfast hosted by the various professionals onsite. Girls and their mentors enjoyed breakfast (thank you Ursuline Academy) and discussion about topics and careers in the Earth Sciences and Engineering with presenters.  Breakfast ended with an informal discussion led by Hilary Olson and a panel of professionals.


Activities After breakfast, girls and their mentors were each given an individual schedule, including guided hands-on activities with professionals, as well as science films with discussion. Each girl was able to attend four different sessions during the morning. The day ended with tours of the French Family Center (Science, Math and Technology Building) and its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design specifications. 

Breakfast with a Pro - Katherine Romanak  Breakfast with a Pro - Jon Olson

STORE members, Katherine Romanak (left) and Jon Olson (right) of The University of Texas at Austin, visit with middle school girls and their mentors over bagels, juice and coffee at 'Breakfast with a Pro' at GirlTalk at Ursuline Academy in Dallas.


GirlTalk CO2 Activity  GirlTalk CO2 Activity

Sue Hovorka (left), STORE team, explains some of the properties of CO2 to middle school girls during an activity on carbon sequestration. Middle school girls (right) learning about the properties of CO2 during an activity on CO2 sequestration.


GirlTalk CO2 Activity  Ann Marie Karam GirlTalk

Middle school girls (left) examine the relationship of fluid flow to grain size and pore-throat size using experimental tubes during an activity led by Angelica Hernandez, graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin in Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. At right, Ann Marie Karam, Ursuline student who participated in GirlTalk on the previous day, demonstrates to middle school girls how to test their drinking water.



October 2, 2010 On Saturday afternoon STORE partnered with the TXESS Revolution to provide an intensive professional development on Climate and Civilization, with 3.5 CEUs from The University of Texas at Austin awarded to each participant. A detailed schedule of the events is also available. All events were held at the LEED (Gold) certified French Family Science, Math and Techology Center.

Kathy Ellins Teaching  Teacher Examining Model CoreTeachers Working on Model Cores

Dr. Kathy Ellins (above left) discusses the use of cores to study climate change that scientists believe contributed to the loss of Mayan population. Teachers work on an activity using model cores, which they could use in their classrooms, and actual data collected from deep-sea cores on titanium levels during the period studied. Activities were developed as part of the TeXas Earth and Space Science (TXESS) Revolution project, sponsored by the National Science Foundation. A version of the activity is available online.