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Inspiring Girls in Science

The 10 Girls in Science fellows during their field trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum.
The 10 Girls in Science fellows during their field trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

This summer, Woods Hole Sea Grant and WHOI embarked on a new collaboration with the Earthwatch Institute on an exciting initiative called Girls in Science. The competitive program comprised a week-long, fully funded, residential fellowship in Woods Hole for 10 young women, aged 16 - 18, from Massachusetts.

During their week, the fellows worked with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Research Specialist Laela Sayigh, Woods Hole Sea Grant Education Specialist Grace Simpkins and others to investigate marine mammal bioacoustics (sounds) while also meeting other female Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) professionals and learning from their collective expertise. The immersive experience included building and testing their own underwater microphone (or hydrophone), analyzing data of dolphin vocalizations from Wellfleet to contribute to a study on whether a mass stranding predictive model can be developed, and capturing the underwater sounds of whales and dolphins vocalizing during a whale watching expedition.  During the evenings, Earthwatch facilitators helped the student fellows integrate arts and science to tell their "Story of Science."

"The fellows had a phenomenal week diving into the science of bioacoustics and meeting so many strong female role models in STEM fields,” says Simpkins.  “It was truly amazing to see the growth in each fellow over the week and a joy to share the wealth of WHOI resources with each and every one of them."

Below, two fellows, Amelia Ducey and Eugena Choi, write about their unique experiences with the program.

Girls in Science Expedition — by Amelia Ducey

This past spring, I was fortunate to be chosen to participate in the Girls in Science Fellowship from August 10th to August 17th. It’s been almost a month since this experience, and I am still reeling from the support and community the program fostered, let alone the actual science I…

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My Girls in Science Experience – by Eugena Choi

Last February, when I heard about the Woods Hole Girls in Science program, I was excited. It combined my passion for conservation with marine biology, and I decided – on the spot – that I was going to go. I worked on my application for months before sending it in,…

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