HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- "HOOAH!" the girls exclaimed as Lt. Gen. Patricia McQuistion concluded her remarks kicking off the fourth annual Girls' Science & Engineering Day held at UAHuntsville Oct. 20.

The girls gathered at the Shelby Center for Science and Technology quickly incorporated "Hooah"into their vocabulary and into their thinking about the future. The Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Materiel Command taught the girls the term acknowledging agreement and support during her opening remarks.

"There are so many opportunities out there. Don't limit yourself in your thinking about what's possible," McQuistion said. "Your participation in days like today and pursuing your dreams will take America to even greater accomplishments than Huntsville and the Rocket City have given to our nation over the past years."

More than 470 third through fifth grade girls from Madison County took that advice to heart as they participated in 40 minute workshops presented by volunteers from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), Raytheon, Boeing, the Redstone Test Center, Huntsville Botanical Garden, Crestwood Hospital, UAHuntsville graduate students and others. There were roughly 200 volunteers who supported this event.

The girls participated in hands-on activities including home-made play dough propellant, strawberry DNA extraction, and simulated laparoscopy. They learned about electrical circuits as they made robot jitterbugs and learned the importance of teamwork as they built rocket models, space suits and communication gear together. They improved their math skills as they participated and won prizes in the math bowl. The activities were designed to pique the young girls' interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Girls' Science & Engineering Day was started four years ago by the UAHuntsville Women's Leadership Council to ramp-up community efforts to ensure an adequate future supply of technologically literate employees. The Council for Advancement and Support of Education awarded the event a 2010 Bronze Medal for Program Excellence.

"It is cool to be smart," Emily Vandiver, chair of the Women's Leadership Council said. "Girls need to see successful female role models right here in their community."

The girls interacted with professional women from Raytheon, Crestwood Hospital, HudsonAlpha, AMRDEC and with other scientists and engineers, including Dr. Grace Bochenek, Army Materiel Command Chief Technology Officer.

"Science is my favorite subject in school," said forth grader Betty Timmons. "I like it even more after today."