Mitchell and Boylan to Host Workshop for Teachers

Friday, October 14, 2011

Westminster College faculty Dr. Deborah Mitchell and Dr. Helen Boylan will conduct Empowering Detective Girls Everywhere (EDGE), a workshop for science and language arts teachers, Saturday, Nov. 5, from 8:45 a.m.-noon in the Witherspoon Maple Room of McKelvey Campus Center.

The EDGE program was developed by Mitchell, professor of English and film studies, and Boylan, associate professor of chemistry, to promote science and reading to middle school girls, particularly those from underrepresented groups.  It was modeled on their popular Westminster cluster course, "Tracking the Criminal through Science and Literature."

Westminster College ranks first in the nation as the "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)," according to

Workshop participants will read a short detective story about Tamana, a young science enthusiast who uses current forensics techniques and historical detective work - à la Sherlock Holmes - to solve a mystery.  After reading the story, participants will be exposed to hands-on forensic science techniques related to the reading.

Mitchell and Boylan encourage teams of teachers from the same school to participate.  The goal of the workshop is to introduce the program concept and solicit feedback from the teachers about the stories and the science activities.

Act 48 credits are available for the workshop.  A $10 fee covers all materials, including a copy of the short story written by Dr. Betsy Ford, professor of English emerita.  Registration deadline is Friday, Oct. 28.

Mitchell, who has been with Westminster since 1992, earned undergraduate and master's degrees from Youngstown State University and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.

Boylan, a Westminster graduate who joined the faculty in 2001, earned her Ph.D. from Duquesne University.

The workshop is supported by Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  Click here for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

Contact Doreen Matune in the Drinko Center at (724) 946-6096 or email for registration or additional information.

About Westminster College...
Founded in 1852 and related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Westminster College ranks first in the nation as "Best College for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math," according to Westminster, a top-tier liberal arts college, ranks third in graduation rate performance, according to U.S. News Best Colleges guide. Westminster ranked 6th among liberal arts colleges in social mobility, according to the Washington Monthly College Guide, and is one of the most affordable national liberal arts colleges in Pennsylvania. Westminster is also honored as one of "The Best 376 Colleges" by The Princeton Review, and is named to the President's Honor Roll for excellence in service learning.

Nearly 1,600 undergraduate and graduate students benefit from individualized attention from dedicated faculty while choosing from 42 majors and nearly 100 organizations on the New Wilmington, Pa., campus. Visit to view "Advantage: Westminster" A Strategic Plan 2010-2020.

Dr. Deborah Mitchell


Dr. Helen Boylan


Drinko Center Information