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Science Before Sparkles: How Two Moms Are Getting Real Science to Girls

September 26, 2017

Marcie Colledge and Kelly McCollum

Science is for boys.

That’s the message that many girls are getting about science. Scientists and moms, Marcie Colledge and Kelly McCollum, the Founders of Yellow Scope, aim to change this message.

The two met at their daughters’ school, where they volunteered together running after-school STEM programs. They noticed a disturbing trend. In elementary school, girls were just as excited about science as boys. But sadly, as they hit middle school, many girls were losing interest and confidence in science.

Yellow Scope GirlsStatistics from the National Girls Collaborative Project Girls Collaborative Project shows that this trend continues beyond school. While women make up 50 percent of the total workforce, they hold less than 30 percent of all STEM-related jobs.

McCollum said, “We were aware of the gender disparity in science, technology, engineering, and math, and we started thinking about a way to take this knack we have for simplifying complex science topics and creating theme-based, hands-on science in a really creative and engaging way.”  That’s when Yellow Scope was born.

Yellow Scope fills a void in the market by creating high-quality science kits for girls without all the glitz.

“If you do a Google image search on science kits for girls, you’ll notice an abundance of pink and sparkly products aimed at making beauty products. By contrast, if you look at the rigorous physics and chemistry kits, you’ll notice they’re marketed to boys.  Girls are perceptive. They internalize these social cues and, over time, begin to lose confidence and interest in their scientific ability,” McCollum said.

The “Foundation Chemistry Kit” has been a great success. Colledge recalled, “A mentor purchased this kit for a girl she is supporting.  She walked in as the girl was doing science and said, ‘I love that you’re playing chemist.’  The girl turned around and said, ‘I’m not playing a chemist, I am a chemist.’  That’s exactly what we’re hoping to see with girls in science.  We want girls to feel like science is for them.  It’s relevant to your everyday life, it’s creative, it’s collaborative, and it is so much fun.”

Learn more about how Yellow Scope and other organizations are working to close the STEM gender gap.



Comments

    Wendy says:

    Neato!!!

    (I was born in 1955. My science grades dropped dramatically in junior high school, and I failed Chemistry in high school. I wish I’d had one of these kits, because I really do love science, and the kit would have helped me in school, of that I’m certain.)

    Glenna says:

    I was born in 1956. I begged for a chemistry set for years but my mother was “afraid” my younger brothers would somehow get hurt. I didn’t give up, excelled in HS science classes, got my BS Chem on time and under budget and graduated from pharmacy school. All with no encouragement except from my teachers and professors. I’ve recruited at high schools, done the Great American Teach In, and tried to encourage girls and let them know they can be at successful in the sciences. You just have to want it bad enough and you’all find a way. Nowadays, there is a tremendous amount of support for students that simply did not exist during my school days. My advice is to take advantage of all that is out there. YOU GO, GIRL!!!

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