The importance of teaching STEM to girls

Kate Ballantine teaches environmental studies and is the founder and director of the Restoration Ecology Program.

By Robin Ferri

The Restoration Ecology Summer Scholars Program at Mount Holyoke College offers high school girls a week-long opportunity to learn about soil health, water quality, wildlife management, plant biodiversity, ecological restoration and more.

The program, which Kate Ballantine directs, was one of eight such programs across the country recently featured in an article in Teen Life magazine. Ballantine is an assistant professor in Mount Holyoke’s environmental studies department.  

The program offers high school girls an environment where they can identify as scientists, Ballantine said in the article, stressing how important that is. She also spoke about how learning in such an environment raises the high school girl’s self esteem, not just in academics, but in all aspects of life.

The goal of the program is to do more than just teach girls how to be scientists. It is how to be the truest version of themselves, while bettering the world in the process, a joint goal Mount Holyoke encourages all its students to take on.

“We get a lot of comments like ‘I never thought I could be a scientist, but now I realize that I can and that I have a contribution to make.’ We need to encourage that feeling,” Ballantine said in the article.

Read the article.