In honor of Women’s History Month, the Science Club for Girls blog initiated the “Letter to my Young Self” campaign to invite women scientists to reflect on the lessons they’ve learned in their life and to provide encouragement to young potential scientists. As a subscriber of the blog, I love receiving these letters in my email on a regular basis. So far, I’ve read letters from a Marine Biologist, a Diabetes Research Scientist, a Chemical Engineer, and a Wildlife Conservationist, and many more. I encourage any of you working with young girls in STEM to take a moment to read some of these wonderful insights from some amazing women, blazing a trail for many more women to come.
1. “Ask questions, lots of questions! Don’t be afraid to ask them, even if no one else is speaking up.” – Sara MacSorley, Project Administrator, Marine Life Science initiative for NSF
2. “You have no idea what a remarkable life is ahead of you, and that small obstacles will not spoil the magic of learning and discovering new worlds. They will just make you stronger and more determined to reach your goals.” – Rossitza Gueorguieva Alargova, PhD
3. “Never let anyone tell you, ‘it can’t be done’. You are capable of great things. Use your mind, your heart, and your inner strength to get you through the tough times.” – Itzia Iglesias, diabetes research scientist at City of Hope Hospital
4. “Be creative. There is always a way to incorporate your talents. You don’t always have to “do” science in the typical way. You can teach it, talk it, pipette it, dive it, write it and many, many others. Explore and try to use as many of your talents as you can.” – Kaitlin Baird, science educator, Ocean Academy & NOAA fellow for 2012 for the Teacher At Sea program.
Women who share a love of science, engineering and technology, who are in different stages of their careers, share with their “young selves” words of encouragement, glimpses into the future and wisdom that can only be gleaned from hindsight. These letters resonate with young girls as well as anyone else on a journey.
As outlined on the SCFG blog, there were several goals for the “Letters…” project:
- to change the image of scientists, challenging preconceived notions that scientists are one dimensional
- to provide relate-able role models for girls taking advantage of opportunities in science
- to encourage girls who are not involved in science to consider it as a career path
- to increase awareness about the many career paths available to women trained in science. (the biographies of the contributors demonstrate the wide spectrum of potential career paths)
- to recognize women who are currently making contributions in science
Here is a wonderful video about the Science Clubs for Girls program in Massachusetts:
A great example of a program that is encouraging girls to engage in STEM through successful enrichment programs!