Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, August 2006. Photo by Terry Goss.

Great white shark at Isla Guadalupe, Mexico, August 2006.
Photo by Terry Goss.


For many people this animal may be a cause of fear, but for some girls it can lead to fascinating facts about marine biology and other STEM fields.

A new organization, called the Gills Club, is inspiring and educating girls ages 14 and under by connecting them with female marine biologists. The group’s motto is “smart about sharks,” and they want to help girls to make “a significant impact on the way sharks are perceived by the public” while building their interest in STEM subjects and careers.

Gills Club is a project of the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC), a nonprofit dedicated to raising public awareness about shark conservation and supporting shark research. Cynthia Wigren, President of the AWSC, told blog Southern Fried Science,¬†”Through Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC), I‚Äôve met a lot of young girls who love sharks. The goal in founding the Gills Club was to connect girls interest in sharks to science.‚Äù
On the Gills Club website you can read about the 30 female scientists that support Gills Club as mentors.

16 year-old Casey Sokolovic is one girl that had a childhood marine biology experience lead to a major impact. She founded her own organization, Love a Sea Turtle (L.A.S.T.), after a field trip to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Hospital in North Carolina when she was only 8 years old. According to Sokolovic, ‚ÄúMy mission has grown and evolved from baking and selling turtle-shaped sugar cookies into an educational outreach program and an outdoor environmental summer science camp that traces the path of fresh water to the coast. Other initiatives include The Outdoor Experience, NC Coordinator for the Stow It-Don’t Throw It project, the Great Bake for Oceans’ Sake, NC Students Make A Difference, and an annual Trail Run.‚Äù Sokolovic was recently announced as the recipient of the Christopher Benchley Youth Award, a part of the prestigious Peter Benchley Ocean Awards.

Want to inspire a future scientist? Girls can join the Gills Club for free by clicking here.

-Emily Holm
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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