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Bringing Science Programs for Girls to China

Published September 20, 2018

Bringing Science Programs for Girls to China
Zhang Zhilin, 13, Shanghai, China

Zhang Zhilin, 13, Shanghai, China

One of the barriers to increasing the number of women in STEM professions is the lack of role models for young women who can inspire them to pursue a career in STEM. This is the fundamental mission of the New York Academy of Sciences' 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program, which has successfully paired more than 1000 girls around the world with mentors who provide crucial career advice and guidance.

Fancience Education wanted to bring this kind of programming to young women in China. So, in partnership with China Women’s Development Foundation and Samsung China, they launched Samsung STEM Girls in April 2018, which is based on the 1000 Girls, 1000 Futures program.

Samsung STEM Girls focuses on leadership and innovation, and includes a sustainable development component. The goal of the program is to help these young women develop scientific thinking and enhance their creativity and leadership to prepare them for the future STEM workplace. 1000 female students ages 12 to 16 joined the program this year.

“I hope, through the program, I can improve my ability to collaborate with others, learn about managing a team as a leader, and how to protect natural resources."

Zhang Zhilin, a 13-year-old student at Shanghai Mingzhu Middle School, joined this program because of the STEM component. She said she doesn’t have STEM courses in school and thought exposure to those subject could be very helpful. “I hope, through the program, I can improve my ability to collaborate with others, learn about managing a team as a leader, and how to protect natural resources."

Since Zhilin doesn't have many female STEM professionals as role models, she never thought of pursuing a career in anything other than teaching or singing. Since joining the program, she now dreams of working in artificial intelligence.

The program starts with leadership and innovation training and lessons in sustainability. From there, students complete projects while learning research and design skills. The Innovation Workshop takes place in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and the Northeast, but for the young women that are unable to attend the workshop in person, they can join online.

Once the training and workshop are completed, 120 of the best students are chosen for the Advanced Training Camp, where experts help students build on their projects. Finally, 12 students are selected to attend international summits and forums, where they’ll meet scientists, tech industry professionals, and Nobel Prize winners.

The Academy and Fancience Education are excited to bring opportunities to female students in China. Learn more about the program on their website. If you are interested in becoming a mentor for programs like this, check out these mentoring opportunities.