BY KARISSA MILLER
Three Iredell-Statesville Schools students have been selected to be a part of a special STEM-focused program through Million Girls Moonshot 2023 N.C. Flight Crew.
The students are:
• Catelyn Clark, Lakeshore Middle School;
• Bailey Clark, Lake Norman High School; and
• Indu Gadiraju, South Iredell High School
Million Girls Moonshot is an elite program that promotes women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics The aim is to inspire and prepare the next generation of innovators through engaging STEM and engineering based after-school learning opportunities.
“Iredell-Statesville Schools had the highest number of program scholarships of any district in North Carolina,” said I-SS STEM Coordinator Debra Lester.
Biology, agriculture and life science have a 48 percent female presence. However, in the fields of computer and math sciences, there is only a 25 percent female representation. Meanwhile, engineering has a meager 15 percent representation.
Lester said that these students are committed to leading after-school STEM learning events “as they build a better future where young girls everywhere can envision a place for themselves in STEM careers while amplifying the conversation around STEM equity, namely in underserved and underrepresented communities.”
Catelyn Clark said she applied for the program because of her interest in STEM and future career as a patent lawyer. Her STEM leadership project is leading others in a rocket egg drop.
“I have done this before at R3 (Rockets, Rovers and Robots) camp. This is a fun and educational experience,” she said.
Bailey Clark said that her STEM leadership project is going to be an escape room.
“I chose this due to my interest in forensic science and to provide the community with something enjoyable to do,” she explained.
She wants people to be able to “put their problem solving and detective skills to the test, in an exciting and educational way.”
Gadiraju said her planned STEM project is to host a coding camp or hackathon for district students.
“It’s a fun way for students to get involved in computer science. I especially want to focus on empowering girls around our community. … I want to encourage other girls in our community to join the STEM field,” she said.