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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

SCORE promotes STEM community through ice cream study session

Whipped cream, half-and-half, vanilla, sugar and liquid nitrogen — these are the ingredients the Student Committee on Research Expansion (SCORE) used Sunday in Science Hall at Saint Mary’s to make ice cream for their study session.

The ice cream itself has a consistency similar to frozen yogurt, attendees at the study session said. To make it, liquid nitrogen is poured over the other ingredients, then stirred slowly with a wooden spoon. The spoon must be wooden, otherwise it will freeze and break. Steam pours over the side of the bowl, creating a witch’s cauldron effect — only unlike witches, SCORE members know the importance of wearing proper safety equipment.

SCORE is an organization created this year to create a place for STEM (Science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors at Saint Mary’s and members of the organization work with the Career Crossings Center and various individual companies to discover STEM internships and promote new research between various scientific fields. 

Along with the ice cream session, senior Heather DiLallo and junior Maggie Benjamin said SCORE hosts several similar events for STEM majors throughout the year. The group’s first event was a research and internship panel hosted at the beginning of the year, followed by a resume workshop and STEM fall poster day.

“Our goal is to build community with STEM majors,” DiLallo said. “We want to push them to get involved in research and to help make a difference in the wider world.”

SCORE is currently planning events for the Spring semester like a professional development workshop in January and a party for STEM majors after sophomores declare majors at the end of the spring semester.

Within the Saint Mary’s community, SCORE provides a network of support for STEM students, sophomore biology major Veronica Vanoverbeke said.

“We want to reach out at each event to get people in one place and talk about STEM — majors, homework, teachers, advice and anything else that might come up,” Vanoverbeke said.

As a student also majoring in STEM, Benjamin described additional benefits to being a member of SCORE.

“We can give each other a unique student perspective,” she said. “In my case, some of my upperclasswomen helped me realize what I want to do. I started out as a [biology] major, but then switched to chemistry because I enjoyed math more. One of the upperclasswomen gave me the advice that directed me toward engineering. It’s what we want to do for younger students.”

The liberal arts environment at Saint Mary’s, DiLallo said, allows the scientific community to become closer and help each other discover new interests or research opportunities through events such as the ice cream study session.  

“When I came here to visit, I knew I wanted to do engineering,” DiLallo said. “One of the major factors that drove my decision to come to Saint Mary’s was the liberal arts background, the ability to do scientific research and the connection to Notre Dame.”