We know by now that getting girls excited about science is critical to their academic and professional futures. While a lot of time is spent arguing about the best methods to accomplish that, it’s easy to forget that there are already girls immersed in the subject—girls who not only love it, but are breaking new ground in it.
While we continue to attempt to solve the gender disparity within fields such as chemistry, neurology, biology and the like, these six young scientists have already built a name for themselves. They’re not “smart for a girl,” they’re just brilliant.
Photo: Mel Yates/Getty Images
Though 17-year-old Marian Bechtel was never personally affected by hidden landmines in her home state of Pennsylvania, she was still inspired to devise a safe way for detecting dangerous underground explosives. That’s why the teenage musician and inventor created a low-cost device that uses soundwaves to determine the location of landmines. Her invention got her a finalist spot in Intel’s prestigious Science Talent Search, a fellowship to the Davidson Institute, as well as an invitation to the White House.
Photo: Compass Summit
This Bronx-area student began her science career well before college. While she was still in high school, Danielle Goldman’s research led to the discovery of a correlation between low levels of a particular neurotransmitter and increased levels of anxiety in adolescents. Goldman, whose work earned her entrance into the final round of Intel’s science competition, hopes that one day her research will influence the way we address childhood depression and mood disorders.
Photo: Danielle Goldman
House paint, building materials and even appliances can give off potentially toxic compounds. Oregon student and TED speaker Naomi Shah created a bio-filter that removes nearly half of a home’s pollutants for less than $30. The device lives in any standard central heating or cooling system and includes parts of living fern and palm plants.
This California teenager may have discovered a cure for cancer. Though she estimates her findings won’t be in practical applications for “about 25 years,” Angela Zheng is being heralded as a pioneer in cancer research. The winner of the Siemens Foundation’s Annual High School Science Competition explains to NBC, “I created a nanoparticle that’s kind of like the Swiss Army knife of cancer treatment...it can detect cancer cells, eradicate the cancer cells and then monitor the treatment response.” Unlike other forms of cancer treatment, Zhang’s is a customizable approach that’s targeted and flexible.
Photo: Anya Grottel-Brown/Siemens Foundation
Samantha Garvey may be as famous for her determination as she is for dedication to science. The Long Island student and her family were actually homeless when at 17, Garvey became a semifinalist in Intel’s Science Search. She didn’t advance to the final round, but that remains a footnote in her dramatic story. Not only did Garvey conduct groundbreaking research on mussel crabs and their ecosystems, but she earned a $50,000 college scholarship from AT&T. Her notoriety also spurred Suffolk County officials to locate rent-subsidized housing for her now formerly homeless family.
A Bay Area native, Andri Antoniades previously worked as a fashion industry journalist and medical writer. In addition to reporting the weekend news on TakePart, she volunteers as a webeditor for locally-based nonprofits and works as a freelance feature writer for TimeOutLA.com.Email Andri | @andritweets | TakePart.com