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A tale of hope for the new year January 5, 2010

Posted by Connie Chow in Chapters, Executive Director Musings, For parents, Junior Mentors.
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As we enter yet another decade, I want to exercise my imagination and step into the shoes of one of our participants. Let’s call her Miranda. In ten years, Miranda would have graduated from college, and would be in the process of realizing her dream to bring a clean water system to several villages, tens of thousands of people, in a watershed area in coastal India. She would be working on an international team of engineers, educators, geologists, ethnographers, marine biologists, local leaders and the villagers, equal parts women and men, with some young people as well, on technologies and ideas that we cannot even imagine, or would imagine bringing together before. She is our future. And how did Miranda get to be where she would be?

Miranda is in 6th grade, 12 years old and has been in Science Club for Girls since 1st grade. 10 years ago, she was already a scientist, confident that her senses will reveal the nature of the world around her, physically in touch with her surroundings, making synaptic connections at a tremendous rate to build up a reservoir of experiences that will shape her future experience. The world was infinitely exciting and full of delights.

Her parents encouraged her. Miranda loved the physicality of water from the time she played with siphons in Science Club in first grade, and over the years, her experimentation got their kitchen quite wet, several times. She was especially inspired by the physical transformation of water from being muddy and gritty to clean and potable, during her 4th grade Science Club for Girls session on on engineering around the world. Next year, Miranda finds out her mentor works at the Deer Island facility and begs for a tour of the sewage treatment plant, and arranges a trip for her entire club by petitioning the Youth Council. Her friends would not have particularly enjoyed the visit, but they knew it was important to Miranda, and supported her.

Through our C.E.L.L.S. program, Miranda would have been intrigued to learn from a public health specialist about disease transmission and would become restless as she contemplates the toll water-borne diseases takes on the lives of children not much younger than herself.

Because she had learned what it means to be a leader, she would petition the Science Club for Girls board to provide her with seed funds to start a campaign to teach others like herself at the school, school district and beyond about this problem.

Because she knows the many facets of career exploration and what could get her to a good college, Miranda would contact us and her mentor that she’s kept in touch with, and also initiate “cold” xx (insert most current and appropriate form of communication), to arrange to shadow doctors and researchers, community activists and sociologists, and eventually be invited to work in a lab during the last two years of high school.

When she gets to college, she would be welcomed by a mentoring group that has partnered with Science Club for Girls, a group that will help her navigate her personal, college and professional journey, encouraging Miranda to avail herself of the many opportunities available, and not to limit herself to prescribed majors and disciplines, to not see the limit in herself.

Amongst other things, this mentoring group would help Miranda found a chapter of Science Club for Girls. She would delight in teaching the young girls about a topic that she too has learned, and which has helped her find a passion in life. She would also tell them that science and engineering is a great tool and foundation for making  positive change in the world. Miranda would be living proof.

This is a composite story. Certain parts are true, and we have seen the impact and example of our girls. Other parts are aspirational. And it is not only a tale about the many Mirandas, it is also a tale about Science Club for Girls and why we do the work we do, what we aspire to, and our invitation for you to join us. It’s a wonderful decade–if we make it so for all our daughters, for all our children.

Happy new year!

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