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Former NASA Astronaut Inspires Girls To Pursue Science Interest

By Cindy Huang
The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Astronaut Mary Cleave and organizers of “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” day say they hope to inspire more girls to go into an industry where they’re significantly under represented. The “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” day included a presentation by Cleave as well as activities to show girls that engineering, a field often associated with tedious math and coding, can also be fun.

The Capital, Annapolis, Md.

Mary Cleave stood in front of a video of her 1985 space flight and talked to 15 middle school girls about her NASA career as a part of a global campaign to promote science and engineering careers to girls.

Rockwell Collins, an aerospace and defense engineering company, hosted Cleave and 15 girls from Central Middle School Thursday for “Introduce a Girl to Engineering” day, which included a presentation by Cleave, a tour and a robotics activity.

Cleave talked about eating Thanksgiving dinner with no gravity to hold down the food, running science experiments and operating the arm of the air craft while her colleagues walked in space.

“You don’t go to space for the food,” she said.

The only woman on the space mission, Cleave joked with colleagues when operating a mechanical part of the ship.

“Get ready,” she recalled saying. “Female driver.”

Organizers and Cleave said they hope to inspire more girls to go into an industry where they’re significantly under represented. They hoped Thursday’s activities will show girls that engineering, a field often associated with tedious math and coding, can also be fun.

At Central Middle, girls make up about a third of the students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program. At Lindale Middle School, North County and South River high schools, girls comprise between a third to 40 percent of the students in the STEM programs.

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