The McLean Area Branch has a special interest in encouraging young women and girls to pursue educational opportunities related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Some of our activities include:

Oksana Vickers and Mandy Smith, both freshmen at Langley High School, were selected as the 2016 recipients of the branch’s STEM Excellence Award. The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Excellence Award is given to a female student or team from a high school in the McLean area with an outstanding science fair project in the field of Engineering. This year’s award recognized the work done by Oksana and Mandy on the project, “The Effect of Desalination Method on Overall Efficiency.”

Each student receives an award certificate, half of a $100 award, and recognition at a Branch event. Oksana was recognized for her contribution at the Branch’s Annual Dinner on May 25 at River Bend Country Club, while Mandy will attend our fall kick-off event on Sunday, September 25.

The students’ project was motivated by a critical lack of drinkable water worldwide. The purpose of their experiment was to find the most efficient method of desalination in terms of time, reduction in salinity, and water loss. The students evaluated three different methods and defined a measure of efficiency to compare the three. Their results showed that the amount of time required was the most critical factor, and as they had originally hypothesized, the method of reverse osmosis was the most efficient method of the three they analyzed.

Oksana first became interested in desalination of water through her participation in Langley’s Model United Nations club and then pursued learning about the science required for its implementation. She has won awards at the Ivy League Model UN Conference, as well as regional and state science fairs. Mandy has an interest in both environmental science and engineering and chose this project because it combined her interests and could help others at the same time. She has also won awards at Langley High School’s science fair and the Fairfax County regional science fair.

High School Achievement Awards in Math and Science

Margaret Hines, Inga Schlier, Emma Barberis, Judy Page - Marshall HS-red

Two young women from George C. Marshall High School received the branch’s STEM awards in math and science at a ceremony on May 19. Pictured from left are Margaret Hines, AAUW McLean Area Branch contact with Marshall HS, Inga Schlier, recipient of the Math Achievement Award; Emma Barberis, recipient of the Science Achievement Award; and Judy Page, STEM Chair.

The McLean Area Branch has partnered with counselors at McLean, Langley, and Marshall High Schools for the third year in a row to award Science and Math Achievement Awards to six female students finishing their junior year. This award, which is funded through our book sale proceeds, consists of a certificate and a check for $100 for each honoree.

The awards process was managed by a committee consisting of Margaret Hines (Marshall HS contact), Margie Broderick (McLean HS contact), Barbara Sipe (Langley HS contact), Peggy Stotz, and Judy Page (STEM chair). Career center counselors at the schools were provided with the criteria for award eligibility from our Policies and then managed the process of selecting the students. The following students are receiving the 2016 awards:

McLean High School – Math: Lauren Hassi
McLean High School – Science: Caroline Lewis

Langley High School – Math: Emily Wallach
Langley High School – Science: Emily Stranne

Marshall High School – Math: Inga Schlier
Marshall High School – Science: Amelia (Emma) Barberis

The awards were presented at each of the high schools by representatives of the AAUW McLean Area Branch. The branch instituted the awards to encourage young women to pursue educational opportunities related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).


Emily Wallach and Emily Stranne-redLangley High School recipients of the awards are juniors Emily Wallach, left, recipient of the branch’s Math Achievement Award, and Emily Stranne, recipient of the branch’s Science Achievement Award.

Caroline Pickens, Caroline Lewis, Lauren Hassi, Peggy Stotz-red

Caroline Pickens, left, and Peggy Stotz, right, present the Science Achievement Award to McLean High School student Caroline Lewis, second from left, and the Math Achievement Award to McLean High School student Lauren Hassi, second from right.