By Elizabeth DaCunha
It has been a few months since my last appearance in the Neighb News, but I’m excited to be back!
For the past few months, some exciting extracurricular experiences have been happening within the Fairhaven Public School District.
As a student interested in taking on a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) career in my future, I was sparked by the idea of STEM for a Social Good brought about by the Girl Up Organization.
Essentially, Girl Up is a female advocacy organization branched off of the United Nations, with a goal of building a more equitable world for the future of young girls.
With this in mind, I wanted to start our own club chapter within the school district, where high school girls could mentor young female students at Hastings Middle School. This way, STEM opportunities would be available for those who lack resources for their passion towards STEM.
It wasn’t difficult for me to find involved mentors as many stepped up to the extracurricular opportunity with great interest and inspiration from the Girl Up mission.
For example, junior Natalie Yochim, stated, “I think more girls need to enter the STEM field, and I myself plan on majoring in biochemistry.”
Along with Natalie, 11th grader Sofia Torres shared that, “I would’ve loved to have the opportunity to learn about STEM and be a part of something like this in middle school, and now I can help younger girls be more involved within STEM subjects.”
Regardless of prior interest in STEM among many of the girls, it is a goal for us to foster this passion for all
fields of STEM among all of the members, which we have been able to work towards through various club activities.
In our first meeting, as stated by middle schooler Joselyn Berche, “We learned about many female scientists who are very inspiring.”
She added, “I love Girl Up because [it] lets me learn about STEM and do fun activities with my friends.”
At our next meeting, we were able to focus on the technology side of STEM with guest speaker Brianna Alves, the only female within our school’s technology department. She shared a bit about her journey in STEM, while also teaching the club members how to code through MIT Platform, Scratch!
This past week, we were able to explore the scientific aspect of STEM with guest speaker McKenzie Ferrari from Umass Dartmouth, who studies physics with a concentration in astrophysics at her school. She spoke about her interests in space, stars, and science, as well as the different research projects that she has been involved in. Alongside this, the girls were able to build rovers from candy, snacks, and such that were shaped as replicas of those that are sent by NASA to explore Mars.
By providing these opportunities to learn about STEM fields that have low interest from the female population, I hope to set out an earlier pathway for many of these young girls as well as the involved mentors, to find interest within these fields, and make up a larger portion of the STEM workforce in their future careers.
Additionally, the purpose of starting this club for me was to help build a connection with the high school and middle school girls through something positive and productive.
This is only the start for Fairhaven’s Girl Up Club, yet we’ve been able to build great relationships among the members, and help these girls become more confident in their abilities and leadership skills.
Just as mentor Olivia Darmofal stated, “We hope to be those role models for them that I wish I would’ve had when I was younger, at times when I needed advice and encouragement the most.”
I’m excited to see the growth of these girls over the course of the year, as we continue to discover their STEM passions and uncover the confidence and ambition that each one of them has.
The world needs more female leaders in all parts of the world, and our strong group of Fairhaven “STEMinists” are ready to take on the Girl Up mission head on.
Click here to download the 2/9/23 issue: 02-09-23 MillieBDay
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