Middle school students shine a light on female scientists in Utah

Mar 11, 2024, 11:43 AM | Updated: Apr 5, 2024, 5:46 pm

CLINTON — Sixth graders at Voyage Academy in Clinton are celebrating female figures in STEM by digging deeper into their history.

“We invited women from the Hill Air Force Base to join us in this, you know, an expedition on journalism,” said James Gritis, sixth grade teacher at Voyage Academy.

Students took on the role of journalists and interviewed 12 local female scientists.

“We noticed that there wasn’t as many women being represented for what they had done and we wanted to change that,” said Sophia Zwahlen, a sixth grader at Voyage Academy.

The STEM panelist's speaking to students.

The STEM panelists speaking to students. (KSL TV)

Sara Lundskog was one of the panelists. She’s a mechanical engineer at Hill Air Force Base.

“I wanted to work for NASA. I wanted to be in mission control. And as my life has turned out, I found that my passion really is airplanes,” Lundskog said.

Students came up with their own questions to ask the panelists.

“It allows them to be the adults in the situation to be the professionals, and to be the driving force of the learning rather than the teacher,” Gritis said.

A display showing students view on the "Hidden Figures" book and what it means.

A display showing students view on the “Hidden Figures” book and what it means. (KSL TV)

This rare access to real-life hidden figures is an experience they’ll never forget.

“I think it’s very inspiring to see that they’ve come through hard things,” Zwahlen said.

Student Randi Carrasco was also impressed with the project.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a woman or a man. You can be anyone you want,” Carrasco said.

Lundskog told students it all comes down to believing in yourself.

“Because stem careers are not the easiest, but they are very, very rewarding and worth all the work,” Lundskog said

To wrap up this project, students will set up an exhibit at the Hill Airforce Base Museum in May to share their research with the community.

The panelists and students taking a group photo with each other.

The panelists and students take a group photo with each other. (KSL TV)

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Middle school students shine a light on female scientists in Utah