The hidden talents of southern STEM won’t be hidden for much longer. Nominations for the upcoming exhibition 100 women, 100 words… infinite possibilities, recently closed, and Otago Museum received over 300 nominations for women and girls who have inspired those around them to engage with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The exhibition will open in early December, and is only one part of the Unlocking Curious Minds-funded project Full STE(a)M Ahead, which Otago Museum, in partnership with the Dodd-Walls Centre and MacDiarmid Institute, has designed to help close the gender gap in STEM fields.
Otago Museum Science Engagement Coordinator, Jessa Barder, noted “We were blown away with the response. We received nominations spanning all ages and across all walks of life. We truly have some amazing and inspiring STEM role models, both at the University and hiding in more rural parts of Otago and Southland.”
Now comes the hard part: whittling this down to just 100!
Says Jessa, “The next step will be convening the selection committee and then working through the logistics of connecting 100 people with our team of six brilliant local photographers who are working with Otago Museum on this exhibition. We’re also in the throes of planning a wider suite of workshops and conversations around the exhibition launch where we hope to be able to reach out and engage all those nominators and nominees with the young people in our communities.”
100 women, 100 words… infinite possibilities seeks to change young people’s perception of who a scientist is, what they do, and how they do it. Research has shown that stereotypes that scientists are male and males are inherently more inclined towards the sciences negatively impacts girls pursuing careers in STEM. This project shows young women that the face of science is changing, and that they can be part of that change.