Encouraging Science-minded Girls With Project Scientist

Aug 6, 2018 3:15 PM ET

Although women fill nearly half of all jobs in the U.S., they hold less than 25% of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) jobs, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. A nonprofit camp in Charlotte is working to close this gender gap with help from local companies like Duke Energy.

Project Scientist, a STEM learning camp for girls ages 4-12, took an expedition to Duke Energy’s Water Quality and Science Labs in Huntersville, N.C. on Wednesday, July 11. The camp meets daily at Johnson & Wales University or the University of North Carolina, Charlotte and ventures out for onsite expeditions related to the learning theme of each week.

“Power Your World” was the theme for July 9-13, and the Environmental Services team at Duke Energy was happy to not only host Project Scientist, but also present them with a $30,000 donation from the Duke Energy Foundation.

“Project Scientist exposes girls to the limitless career possibilities in STEM, and we’re proud to support their great work,” said David Fountain, Duke Energy’s North Carolina president. “By fostering a growing student interest in STEM fields, our communities will continue to develop skilled workers who bring new thinking and innovation to our region.”

The labs, located at McGuire Nuclear Station on Lake Norman, were the ideal spot for the Project Scientist campers to collect water samples, analyze them alongside Duke Energy water quality scientists, and learn about the invertebrates living in the water. The campers also learned about hydro and nuclear electricity and visited the Benthic and Fish Labs where they learned about fisheries resources and osprey.

“It’s one thing to see pictures in a book or on a screen, but these expeditions bring STEM learning to another level,” said Project Scientist Founder and CEO Sandy Marshall. “The girls get the chance to immerse themselves in their favorite topics and meet women who are working in science and technology fields.”

To learn more about Duke Energy’s STEM education programs, visit illumination.duke-energy.com. To register or learn more about Project Scientist visit projectscientist.org.