The “Curie-osity Project” Introduces Girls to Women in STEM Fields

Posted on Mar 6 by SEASONS Magazine

Girls from the after school program at Girls Inc., courtesy of Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara.

Girls from the after school program at Girls Inc., courtesy of Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara.

Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and the McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education within UCSB are collaborating for the “Curie-osity Project.” This project is a pilot program that engages girls from 4th to 6th grade in inquiry based activities with women scientists and engineers from the Santa Barbara community. The project is inspired by the impactful work of Marie Curie, a physicist and chemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1903 and in 1911 for her work in radioactivity.

This collaborative effort was formed to empower young women. The National Girls Collaborative Project reports that women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but only 29% of the science and engineering workforce. Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education are establishing the foundation for young women of this generation to bridge this divide.

“Women have experienced a long history of inequality and discrimination, reflected in the lack of acknowledgment of women who have contributed to technological and scientific progress over the past centuries and in the underrepresentation of women pursuing STEM studies and professions. The Curie-osity Project is designed for young girls to develop skills needed for critically engaging with scientific issues, and stimulate interest in STEM studies and careers,” says Diana Arya, GGSE faculty member and Director of the McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic.

For the remainder of this academic year, 25 girls from Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara’s after school program will visit the UCSB labs and research sites to conduct their research project. They will interview women from a myriad of scientific and engineering disciplines who all make influential contributions to their respective fields and learn about the work they do. The girls are facilitated by UCSB undergraduate students in the all the academic and hands-on activities they conduct at the university. The ultimate goal of the program is to publish a book about the women interviewed. The girls will document this process along the way by recording their interviews with the scientists and creating video blogs of their weekly activities. At the end of May, the girls will gather all of their findings and present their information.

For more information visit, girlsincsb.org or call 805/963-4017.

—Lauren Bennett

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