Girls empower girls


Ashley Christopher, Opinion Editor

On Monday, December 4, students from West High’s Space and Engineering Academy (SEA) held a Girls Night in several classrooms in the H building. For two hours, current female SEA students worked with eighth grade girls who are interested in joining the academy and learning what it has to offer.

The event began with an introduction by Chaztine Embucado. The girls enjoyed a selection of snacks while getting to know each other then quickly broke into groups for their main activity. In the spirit of the holidays, the girls learned about electrical circuits and made their own LED light ornaments, a craft that combined engineering with Christmas décor.

Within two hours, the younger girls began to break out of their comfort zones. Monte Vista eighth graders Janice Subroto and Roselyn Lazum worked especially hard on their projects. “I’ve learned how circuits work…and that if you hook something up the wrong way it can catch on fire,” said Subroto. Lazum appreciated the social aspect of the Academy, “You get to meet all these new people, and I think that’s very cool. Everybody knows each other so well.”

During the night, senior Jade Ou recalled her own experiences as a freshman entering the SEA, “I didn’t really know what engineering was before the academy. I actually thought it was something to do with trains,” Ou said with a laugh. As an older girl, she now has the opportunity to share her experiences and knowledge gained from her four years with prospective new girls. “Joining the Academy was one of the best decisions I have made. I would recommend it to anyone who is (considering joining].”

The Academy is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in STEM. As science and engineering fields are mostly male dominated, the Academy works especially hard to recruit girls. “In our graduating class, there are ten senior girls,” said Anna Chavarria, a member of that special elite. The evening seemed successful as more than a dozen girls are now considering the Academy as their pathway. “We always have a lot more boys than girls,” said SEA English teacher Marna Bynum. “We want to show [girls] that science can be fun and interesting…and we want to let them know that [they] can do whatever the boys can do.”