Sparkle or science? Which word sounds more appealing to your average elementary-aged girl? My guess is that if you asked elementary school teachers or 8-year-old girls, the answer would be “sparkle” (“Science Center Defends Its Offerings to Girls After Criticism in Social Media,” Oct. 7).
What the majority of the social media STEM experts who spoke out against the Carnegie Science Center’s Science with a Sparkle program are missing is that if you want to get more girls to the STEM table, you have to be able to bring them to it in the first place. As Linda Ortenzo, director of STEM programs at the science center, pointed out, the program does feature chemistry; the name of the program is more a vehicle to get young girls there.
As a former Western Pennsylvanian who attended a Carnegie Science Center sleepover as a Girl Scout, it’s alarming to see how quickly people are jumping to conclusions without taking a moment to ask what kind of impact the program has on young girls and STEM in Western Pennsylvania, regardless of its name. Are we going to argue about a name or are we going to focus on bringing young girls to the STEM table earlier?