Shree Bose on Girls In STEM!
Shree Bose won the 2012 Google Science Fair with research that studied the effects of certain proteins on cancer cells!
Earlier this month, we shared an interview with Shree about her winning research and her current projects, which you can view here. Today, we're sharing more of Shree's interview with Sweety High on the topic of girls in science!
It's commonly known there there are more males than females in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
We asked Shree why she thinks this is so.
"That's something I got asked a lot right after I won," Shree told us. "I didn't have an answer because I hadn't experienced that before. My research mentor was a woman and she was an incredible researcher and scientist. That was never something I thought about that much."
In 2012, Shree's Google Science Fair win gave her the chance to travel all over and spread the word about her research. It also opened her eyes to the situation of girls in science.
"The more I got to travel and talk to people, the more I realize that there is a significant gap between boys and girls in science," she said.
Shree is now a Global Ambassador for Girlstart, a nonprofit organization that aims to pique the interests of young girls in STEM.
"I think what they're doing is incredible," Shree said. "I was talking to the founder of Girlstart, and one of the things she mentioned is the fact that when you're first learning science, you're introduced to rockets and astronauts, and all this stuff that sometimes girls might not find as appealing."
Instead, Shree believed all facets of science should be introduced to girls early on.
"There's a lot of health and environmental stuff that they might find really cool," she said. "There are different sides of computer science, different sides to building rockets. At a very young age it's easy to become disillusioned with an entire field based off one experience."
Further, a lot of girls can be intimidated by science and the preconception that it's for men.
"I was probably a part of that crowd," she said. "I didn't think I would like boiling chemicals."
Girls can also be turned off by the difficulty of science classes as high school progresses.
"In science I've found it's easy to get discouraged," she said. "It's easy to have one test that doesn't work out and to feel like you're done with the entire field."
Shree urged budding scientists to stick in there, because understanding takes time.
"Is this is something I'm interested in, I'm going to fail three more times, but I'm going to get to something and get to see the results," she said. "That's the biggest thing. If you're excited about something, you can't get discouraged.
Shree does believe the social climate is changing thanks to projects like Girlstart.
"There are a lot of programs for girls in K-12 right now, and I think they're doing a great job," she said. "There are so many girls in engineering and math that we didn't see before. I can't wait to see how that goes in the future."
Shree believes it's important for girls who are interested in science to pursue it, and not to give up because of a minor setback.
"Read everything you can about what you're passionate about, and find someone else who's really excited about what you think is cool," she said.
Shree's biggest supporter as she got into the sciences was her older brother, Pinaki. Early on, she was extremely interested in the workings of the human body, and her brother's similar interest helped ignite her passion further.
"A large part of staying with it is just finding somebody, not even necessarily somebody older than you, who is excited about the same things," she said. "Sharing that excitement, harnessing it, and reading about it is what's going to turn your excitement on all the way."
That passion is what drives her even today.
"I'm still interested in the human body and how everything works even after nineteen years," she said.
Are you passionate about sharing science with other girls? Join us at Sweety High to tell us about it!