SheTech Explorer Day is a conference for high school girls 9th through 12th grade. The day-long event included hands-on workshops in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The ultimate goal is to expose girls to technology in an entertaining atmosphere as well as meet STEM role models to learn more about opportunities in those fields (https://www.uvu.edu/conferences/shetech/index.html)
Gwen Evansted from Sweets and current AACT-Rocky Mountain section Chair was invited to give a workshop on “Food Science & Technology – Exploring the wonderful, tasty world of Confectionery Science”. With the help of Silvana Martini, Zachary Cooper (USU undergrad), and Nayma Murillo (visiting scholar) from Utah State University this team of e candy lovers delivered three 50-min hands-on workshops to girls interested in science and technology. The workshop consisted in describing the role of crystals in different confectionery products. Participants in the workshop were able to explore the differences between grained and non-grained caramel. They were introduced to the concepts behind hard candy and they learned how to make cotton candy. Participants were able to differentiate fat- vs. sugar-bloomed chocolate and the molecular mechanisms responsible for these quality changes in the product were explained.
This was indeed an entertaining and informative event resulting in much interest and many follow-up question about food sciences and the confectionery industry in Utah. We hope participants enjoyed the workshop and that we can continue to do this in future years.