Google Science Fair Winners Are Inspiration to All Girls

Shree BoseDid you hear about the group of teenage girls who swept the major prizes at the Google science fair? Between Shree Bose, a 17-year-old who made a major breakthrough in the fight against ovarian cancer; Naomi Shah, a 16-year-old working to improve life for folks with asthma; and Lauren Hodge, a 13-year-old who studied carcinogens in grilled chicken, the idea that girls stink at science has essentially been blown out of the water. But I confess it isn't these three girls I'm thinking about today.

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It's what their accomplishments mean for my daughter. As feminist and girl power-laden as our house can be, I have one big fat failure to confess. I stink at math and science. And I do mean stink.

All those right brain activities tax my writer brain, leaving me to do something no self-respecting feminist should. I call for my husband. Computer's not working? I yell for him. Tip to calculate at the restaurant? Oh honey! A fluke of timing in my elementary education means I even have trouble reading a simple clock. I long ago abandoned watches in favor of checking the digital read-out on my cellphone or ... you guessed it, asking my husband.

It didn't bother me in the early days of our marriage. He'd turn to me for spelling. He can't take an artistic photograph to save his life. We have our balance. But now that we have a daughter, a daughter who is particularly adept at puzzles and building things, flexing the muscles of her right brain, I've been feeling increasingly desperate to prove to her that I'm not some "dippy female" so she has a role model on her path to indulging her math and science chick side.

But I can always use some help. For us that's meant repeated viewings of PBS' SciGirls, a show about real live tween girls indulging in scientific exploration. It means mixing in a few science projects with the pile of crafts she has to do with the babysitter this summer. And it means finding stories about awesome teen girls who do amazing things with their "right brains."

This is the first year of the Google Science Fair, and Bose, Shah, and Hodge all deserve major kudos for what they've done. As the folks at Google say, "We are heartened to know that our future is in the capable hands of our young scientists." But I want to thank them not so much for their scientific innovations but for what they mean for the little girls who will enter the fair in the future.

Are you excited about these girls sweeping the contest?


Image via YouTube

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