There are an increasing number of opportunities for girls interesting in pursuing a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) career. Over the last year or so, I have read about dozens of fascinating summer camps, extracurricular programs, weekend schools, and the like. One of the most intriguing has been the Women's Health Science Program.
The Women’s Health Science Program for High School Girls and Beyond (WHSP) was created by the Institute for Women’s Health Research to prepare and empower a diverse population of high school girls to successfully become the next generation of women leaders in science and medicine.
|Girls enrolled in the Women's Health Science Program. |
Photo source: WHSP Facebook page
Founded in 2006 by Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. and Megan E. Farout, MEd, the Women's Health Science Program is an innovative program which brings together high school and college students interested in the field science and medicine and places them within a community-based program, with the goals of increasing science mentorships and improving advocacy, improving authentic science and health learning opportunities, and exposing promising students to the available academic programs leading to careers in science and medicine. It was designed to introduce college-level instructors, programs and resources to high school students.
|Girls practicing on each other. Source: WHSP|
Currently the program offers several different academies, ranging from the general study of physical science to the specific study of oncofertility, each of which with an emphasis on women's health concerns to make it relevant to the girls' lives.
In each program, the girls get plenty of laboratory time, learning how to use equipment and procedures, simulating working with samples and performing dissections. They also get plenty of clinical experience, learning how to work with patients, doing research, observing surgeries, and discussing current health issues facing young women.
|Girls learning medical science. Source: WHSP|
"We think girls need more opportunity to see what the possibility is for them in their lives and sometimes girls think of themselves in other careers, but not as scientists," said Woodruff. "We have them interfacing with scientists, clinicians, nurses, physical assistants and really ask them to involve themselves in the discovery process of science that then translates into human health." (Quote source: ABC12)The more I read about it the more I'm convinced it really is a remarkable program. I hope if you're in the Chicogo area, you'll check it out.