The STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering, and mathematics -- have always had trouble attracting women. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Commerce shows only one in seven engineers are female and women earn only 20 percent of bachelor's degrees in the STEM fields.
A group of cheerleaders is coming to the rescue, playfully challenging stereotypes and inspiring young women to consider science and technology careers.
Can science and cheerleading ever mix? According to the Science Cheerleaders, absolutely! The group is made up of 200 former NFL and NBA cheerleaders who also have careers in STEM fields.
"As soon as you start talking to someone, they realize you are intelligent. They realize that oh wow, this person has something more to say then just rah rah," said Science Cheerleader Allison Grosso.
Grosso is a former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader and has degrees in chemistry and biology.
"I've actually loved science ever since I can remember," Grosso said.
She has worked as a research biologist and now makes the rounds with surgeons.
"I'm in the operating room every day," Grosso added.
Erin Donnelly is working toward a career in clinical psychology. The former St. Louis cheerleader loves helping young girls break stereotypes. Women makeup only 24% of those in STEM fields and she's challenging girls to change that.
"Being in the STEM fields is a neat thing," said Donnelly. "You know, do what you want to do and especially try it. There's no reason not to try something."
One of the Science Cheerleader's biggest projects to date involved setting a world record for the largest cheerleading team with more than 1300 Pop Warner cheerleaders.
They have also partnered with scistarter.com where girls can choose from hundreds of science projects and get involved.
"Starting young we can get people to get excited about science and have them pursue careers in the STEM areas."
The old world record for the biggest cheer was held by China with 1200 youth cheerleaders. The U.S. now holds the record with a 100 more. For more information on getting young girls involved with science, you can log onto www.sciencecheerleader.com.
Interested in science?
If you’re a scientist, a representative of a science organization or group, or just an avid science fan who wants to get involved, check out scistarter.com!
- SciStarter will bring together the millions of citizen scientists in the world; the thousands of potential projects offered by researchers, organizations, and companies; and the resources, products, and services that enable citizens to pursue and enjoy these activities. We aim to:
- Enable and encourage people to learn about, participate in, and contribute to science through both informal recreational activities and formal research efforts.
- Inspire greater appreciation and promote a better understanding of science and technology among the general public.
- Create a shared space where scientists can talk with citizens interested in working on or learning about their research projects.
- Satisfy the popular urge to tinker, build, and explore by making it simple and fun for people -- singles, parents, grandparents, kids -- to jump in and get their hands dirty with science.
How to join:
The Science Cheerleaders are looking for volunteer contributors to help build their site. Are you interested in science, web publishing and being part of an exciting, creative new venture? Send a note describing your qualifications to firstname.lastname@example.org (Source: scistarter.com)