March 21, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 12

Murph works for Girl Scouts' highest honor

Petersburg High School Junior Diane Murph is well on her way to earning the highest award for Girls Scouts, the Gold Award.

Shelly Pope
Diane Murph quizzes her students on what they have learned over the last three days of the the Science and Electricity Camp that she created to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award.

The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting. Open only to girls in high school, this prestigious award challenges the student to change the world, or at least their corner of it, and be eligible for college scholarships, too. By the time the final touches are put on this seven-step project, a problem will have been solved, not only in the short term, but for years into the future.

Murph organized a three-day science and electricity camp for 10 to 12 kids and taught them aspects of the various fields of engineering.

“I began working on this project back in June and it was due in August,” Murph said. “A lot of preparation went into making sure this was a successful camp and also making sure everyone learned something.”

As the girls sat in a circle, Murph asked several questions regarding electricity, architecture, and general science. The girls quickly screamed the answer.

“I have been amazed at how much they have retained over the last three days,” Murph said. “It just proves that they are learning something.”

According to Murph, the field of engineering is opening up to women more and girls need to know that this field is an option for them.

Murph wishes to become an electrical engineer after graduation and science has been a passion for her for a long time. She also has three older siblings who all work in the engineering field.

In the architectural engineering portion of the camp, the girls constructed buildings and then stacked books on top of them to see how many volumes could be stacked before the structure collapsed.

This project taught them to pay attention to the way things are built and what it takes to create a sturdy structure that will not fail.

The girls also experimented with lemons, nails and a volt meter to see how much voltage could be generated from several lemons connected by a nail and copper wire.

They made magnets out of batteries, nails and copper wire; windmills from pinwheels, glass bottles, batteries and copper wire and they witnessed a person riding a bicycle generating power to illuminate a head light.

These students also recreated the science behind Tyee Hydro electric power with a flower pot, spoons, batteries, copper wire and water.

“I have loved everything about this camp,” camp student Leesa Murph said. “But my favorite part was making the windmills.”

As the students sat to watch a movie about students building a solar powered go-kart, Murph sat back to enjoy her accomplishment.

“I still have about 10 pages of forms to fill out to finish this project for the State, but I feel like it is finished,” Murph stated. “I will have the steps to conduct this camp bound and will send it to Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan so that the lessons learned can help the whole Southeast region, not just Petersburg.”

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