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Young Innovators: STEMpower Girls Fuels Change


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courtesy of joodh waleedh

Senior Jessica Yan monitors a middle school student creating a three-dimensional hologram pyramid at the Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School Oct. 10. “After each workshop, we ask the girls questions to review what they’ve learned that day, and to see their confidence and excitement increasing each time really bolsters my mission,” Yan said.

This fall, seniors Allie Ng and Jessica Yan founded STEMpower Girls, a team dedicated to empowering young girls to become innovative leaders in STEM fields. Seniors Tomer Krayzman and Joodh Waleedh have joined them in this volunteer effort. Managing editor Tirzah Khan spoke to Ng about the group.

What were you hoping to achieve by founding this organization?
There are so many problems in the world, and it really saddens me. I desperately want to make a difference. I feel that with all the opportunities I have, my life would be a complete waste if I didn’t use them for good. I thought long and hard about what I could do to help, even a little bit. There were so many issues I wanted to solve, but I’m more science-oriented, so I decided to start a program that combats stereotypes and builds confidence in young girls in STEM. That’s how I came up with STEMpower Girls. The gender gap in STEM—in any field, really—is so common to hear about, and I just wanted to make a positive change in this area.

Have there been any really striking moments?
It’s so amazing to see when the kids are fully engaged in the lesson and are eager to learn. Even when the experiments don’t go exactly as planned, the girls are still so enthusiastic. One time I remember we did an experiment about density and it didn’t work at all, but the students were still thinking of ways to make it work. They were like, “Well, what if we tried this?” So we tried their suggestions and it still didn’t work, but they kept on brainstorming. That’s how we knew we had really impacted their lives. All we want is for them to learn and be interested. When I see things like that happening, I know everything is worth it.

Where do you plan to go from here?
My work won’t end with this program. I never thought that I’d start a nonprofit, but now I think my life has been fulfilled. I want to combat so many more issues and solve many more problems. I’m going to make this my life’s work. This is my future.

More information about STEMpower Girls:

Mentoring: STEMpower Girls is a weekly after-school STEM program for middle school students in Baltimore City (currently at the

Baltimore Montessori Public Charter School). It aims to cultivate an interest in STEM fields through hands-on activities and lessons.

Empowering: Their online magazine (STEMpowergirls.org) features stories and interviews of inspiring female STEM leaders. Through the combination of media and compelling stories, their hope is to provide a unique and accessible platform and connect girls who face gender disparities in STEM programs with female leaders from around the world.

Information collected from STEMpowergirls.org.

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