For the past three years, the Curie-osity Project has been giving young women the opportunity to visit labs at UCSB, interact with prominent women professors in the field of science, and conduct experiences with these same professors. Many of these young women are fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, but the program is now branching out to include high schoolers as well.
The program was created three years ago by UCSB’s McEnroe Reading Clinic at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education and Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara.
This year, the Curie-osity Project is under new leadership, and with that came the new ideas to build on the program. The new lead coordinator of the program is Stephanie Arguera, a fourth year Ph.D student in UCSB’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. Prior to becoming the new lead, she volunteered at St. George Youth Center for about two years and helped create two murals in Estero Park.
Arguera has implemented a few new structural ideas to the program. In previous years, the program only gave elementary students the opportunity to visit UCSB, but now Arguera has started to bring in high schoolers to the program to teach them leadership skills. She wants to have the high schoolers learn from the undergraduate facilitators.
“They’re stepping in for the undergrad, we’re giving them the opportunity to do something that perhaps they haven’t been asked to do before — which is organize, manage, and facilitate a small group or small team” said Arguera. “Even being provided the opportunity to be a leader can make a difference.”
Another project that Arguera wants the high schoolers to get involved with is the program’s review panel for a youth scientific journal. The journal is called Frontier for Young Minds, and is an open access scientific journal written by scientists and reviewed by kids and teens. The program asks the professors involved with the program to rewrite a recent article for a younger audience so that the students can review it.
“On May 29, during our big showcase, those teams will also participate in a live review of the scientist work. So the scientist will come and present their article. They’ll ask for any edits and the final work will be published in Frontier for Young Minds, listing them as the reviewers,” said Arguera.
One of Arguera biggest hopes for next year’s project is to try and get a few of the school’s “rockstar scientists” involved with the program. Although she recognizes that many of them are busy with conferences, she does think it would be “fantastic” if the scientist got involved with the program.
If any female-identifying student wants to get involved with the Curie-osity Project, they can email Stephanie Arguera.