Program Helping Young Girls Get Excited About Science

(June 16, 2012) SPOKANE -- Young women across the country are under-represented in several fields of science and medicine. Educators have now teamed up to help local students explore careers in those industries.

Summer break is now underway. But some local students were back in school getting hands-on experience learning about careers in science and engineering.

Young girls got the chance to meet with local professionals who work in sectors of science, technology, engineering, and math. The program is organized by the Perry Initiative, Washington State University, and Shriner's Hospital. The Perry initiative meets with students in 22 cities nationwide to get girls more interested in science and medicine. They especially hope to introduce them to engineering and orthopedic surgery.

Those participating on Saturday said they understand why the numbers are low for girls. They believe old views on these professions are keeping diversity down.

"I think it might be because of past stereotypes, just based on background experiences, and the lack of the opportunities that females have had in the past," said future WSU student Natasha Saric.

The workshops help girls get hands-on experience while networking with potential mentors. Organizers said they want girls to see these jobs can be exciting and for anyone who enjoys being creative. They said Spokane is a great place to host this type of event because bio-med programs keep growing in local schools.

Organizers said it is important to change the demographics. In some fields of engineering, women make up less than 7% of the people employed across the country.