GEOGIRLS ROCK! STEM-BASED OUTDOOR PROGRAM AT MOUNT ST. HELENS ENCOURAGES AND SUPPORTS THE NEXT GENERATION OF SCIENTISTS
The program is remarkable in that young girls—the next generation of scientists—engage with women scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Mount St. Helens Institute (MSHI), public agencies, universities, and private sector. The scientists share stories of how they chose their careers and what they studied in school. The girls learn about challenges and ways in which difficult scientific problems can be resolved. The professionals create an environment where science is “doable” not daunting, which encourages girls to pursue their passions.
The GeoGirls program began in 2015. The USGS scientists share research projects and MSHI oversees applications, logistics, and follow-up, including pre- and post-program surveys that assess skill and attitude changes. The survey uses a Likert-scale rating for statements on science identity, the outdoors, and empowerment/grit. Before the 2018 program, 34% of participants said they were undecided or did not agree they knew about volcanic hazards; 30% said they were undecided or did not agree they valued conducting science outside. After the program, 100% of the GeoGirls reported they knew about volcanic hazards and valued conducting science outdoors; 92% said they can overcome challenges and find support from others to help them face challenges; and 96% now see themselves as scientists.
The GeoGirls program provides an impactful outdoor learning opportunity to share knowledge about Mount St. Helens, volcano hazards, monitoring technologies, science careers and hazard education. To learn more, visit www.mshinstitute.org/learn/for-parents/geogirls/geogirls.html.