Girl Power at the Google Science Fair: The Geek Girl Report
I loved science experiments as a kid. I remember one of my own childhood experiments where I tested how well some household cleaners killed certain strains of bacteria. (and in case anyone’s interested, the results of my tests showed that the cheaper, generic cleaners knocked out more bacteria that pure ammonia.)
I also loved attending the annual school science fair and seeing everyone’s cool projects and hard work. But in the midst of the large, cardboard displays and homemade baking soda and vinegar volcanoes, I couldn’t help but notice that most of the competitors were boys. Only a handful of girls were there, and very rarely did any of them receive a ribbon. I always wondered why girls weren’t more interested in science, but now, it seems like that’s about to change.
At the inaugural Google Science Fair, three young ladies swept the competition, winning the top prizes in all 3 age categories. Lauren Hodge of Dallastown, PA, won the age 13-14 category with a study on whether marinades reduce the amount of cancer-causing compounds produces by grilling meat. Naomi Shai of Portland, Oregon won the age 15-16 category with her study of the effects of air quality on lungs. And Shree Bose of Fort Worth, Texas, took the age 17-18 category and won the overall competition with her research on ovarian cancer.
Science had, traditionally, been a male-dominated field. So to hear about these girls beating out not just their fellow female competitors, but all the boys who entered the competition makes me very excited. Science is a dynamic and constantly changing field, and on top of that, it can be fun! It’s great to see young girls not just taking an interest in science, but excelling in it. These girls have made some great accomplishments so far, and they’ll just continue to make strides in their fields.