Columbus City Schools and COSI are teaming up for Women’s History Month to encourage more young women to take an interest in STEM. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

“I think today has been really inspiring to see a whole bunch of girls from Columbus City Schools come to one place to learn about one thing: STEM,” said Columbus Alternative High School senior Courtney Stewart. “The movie [Hidden Figures] especially, it rose something up in me– that we as black girls, we’re really doing the thing, and we need to continue to do the thing.”

Stewart says she will likely be going to Howard University in the fall to study chemistry with the hopes of one day becoming an endocrinology researcher. She says she was inspired by her grandfather’s life-long battle with diabetes.

“I feel like it could be my way to give back to him and other African-Americans who suffer from diabetes,” she said.

Stewart was just one of the more than 150 girls from across the district who spent the day at COSI while promoting the district’s “Any Girl Can” initiative. 

“I think the theme “any girl can”… we have to embrace any field that any student desires to go in. Especially our STEM field where it seems that it’s more difficult to get in those fields because some of the coursework,” said CCS superintendent Dr. Talisa Dixon.

To start their day, the girls watched award-winning movie “Hidden Figures” about the African American women of NASA who were an integral part of the blossoming space program in the 1960s. 

“”Hidden Figures” is such a treasure,” said president and CEO of COSI Dr. Frederic Bertley. “It’s so important for the state [of Ohio]. So when you think of John Glenn, one of the most famous astronauts ever, he picked an African-American woman to do the mathematics to calculate his safe orbit of earth and coming back to the planet. “Hidden Figures” is all about celebrating the great Katherine Johnson, an incredible woman, and what better way than to better way to celebrate that than by showcasing that movie for the next generation of city school, Columbus kids to possibly understand that they can be scientist and engineers too.”

“There’s not enough of us [African-American girls] out there,” Steward added. “A statistic was shown that we are the second highest-achieving [in] bachelor’s degrees, but out of those degrees, only like 2 percent are STEM degrees, so we’re getting an education, but a lot of us are not getting them in STEM. I feel like to break that stigma, we need to do more events like this.”

To see what else is happening at COSI in March CLICK HERE.