Project Scientist: Bridging the gap between women and science - myfoxcarolinas.com

Project Scientist: Bridging the gap between women and science

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Jobs in math and science aren’t just for men anymore, and the women know it.

At least, that’s what girls are learning at the Project Scientist STEM camp, held on the Queens University of Charlotte campus. According to founder Sandy Marshall, one of the goals of the camp is to instill confidence in girls when it comes to learning math and science.

“I'm actually a statistic like many women,” she said. “I was pre-med and when I hit organic chemistry, tried it twice; I lost my confidence and dropped out. So I think that drives a lot of my passion as well, to make sure that our girls understand that can fail. You don't have to get an A in organic chemistry, just get through it, and build up their confidence and get them through whatever stage they'd like to have in STEM.”

Marshall said she wants the girls to think outside the box when they think of what a scientist is.

“On the first day, we ask the girls to draw a scientist and typically they draw something that looks like Einstein,” she said. “By day five, they start to draw women, because we bring in female STEM superstars. By their last day here, they’re drawing themselves and they’re writing what they want to be.”

Confidence building is just one aspect of Project Scientist. The 300 girls who attend the camp also get to experience a college setting, which is 12-year-old Diara Meadow’s favorite part.

“Being on a college campus is exhilarating, because you get to see from the inside what you want from a college” she said. “It’s exciting to see and kind of look into the future.”

The girls spend the day doing hands-on experiments, getting lessons inside the classroom and interacting with the arts. Marshall said the camp explores theatre as a way to help the girls with public speaking.

“They’re learning to find their voice, to speak up,” she said.

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