Top Female Students Recognized

Twenty-eight teenage girls who are top students have been chosen to participate in an initiative that encourages females to focus on the science, technology, electronics and math (STEM) fields.

From West Lauderdale, Meridian High, Northeast, Southeast, Clarkdale, Lamar and Calvary Christian School, 28 high school girls have been chosen by their teachers to take part in the first charter STEM club in the state of Mississippi.

"I was super excited," said Rachel May, a senior at West Lauderdale High School. "It was a pretty good moment."

"I was shocked. I did not know that my teacher chose me," said Chelsi Stewart, Meridian High School junior.

"I was so shocked, but at the same time I was so happy that I was finally being honored for my achievements," said Lillian-Lee Broussard, a junior at Lamar.

"So, we're organizing a charter group here," said Ruth Jones, Mississippi coordinator of the Mississippi Women's History Project. "This will be the first time this is done in Mississippi, so that these girls can network by setting up clubs, having various kinds of meetings and doing various kinds of things that are going to help them on their way."

Many of the girls in this group aspire to become doctors or pharmacists.

"I think that it's important for women to put themselves out there," said Kristin Skipper, a senior at Southeast High School "I don't think that we should let the intimidation of it being a male-dominated field keep us from pursuing what we want."

This group of outstanding young women are making a mark now that will last into the future. A poster of the group will be on display in the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and the Lauderdale County Archives office.

"I feel good to know that other people have the same interest as I do," said Stewart.

"It's very empowering because, you know, so many men choose the scientific field while women usually tend to go for English and literature," said Broussard. "So, I feel very empowered that women are finally stepping up into the science field."

Aside from being empowered by this endeavor participants agree that they also want to inspire others.

"Definitely to inspire other girls to consider STEM fields and to make friendships because I know that I've met a girl that's going to pharmacy school with me so that's exciting," said Skipper.

"It's just good to see like a lot of like-minded people," said May. "We get to form friendships with people from other schools and stuff," May said. "I really like it."