By Flora Gonska:
To this day, girls are behind in terms of access to education and their likelihood of making it through secondary education. Nearly all countries have some form of education inequality, and that carries through to career access. Girls for Science encourages girls to pursue science and continue to break barriers. Read on!
FG: Tell us all about you and your organization!
My name is Aneesha Nayak (she/her/hers), and I am a 17-year-old climate activist and feminist from Tampa, FL! Ever since I was 5 years old, I always held a large interest in quantum physics and other fields of science that brought much curiosity and passion through me as I got older. From this, I started taking lots of STEM-related classes at my high school, as well as conjoin myself into tons of STEM nonprofits and clubs in order to influence and educate other girls [on] the importance of STEM + significance. Along with that, I was super inspired to co-found “Girls for Science: Environmental,” which is a branch of the founded nonprofit “Girls For Science.” Girls for Science is an organization that promotes girls to enter the STEM fields. Through education and advocacy, it is our goal to provide extended STEM-based opportunities to students across the world in order to increase the number of women in STEM in the future. By using social media to our advantage, we increase our outreach through creating digital content relating to the importance of science in daily life. Our in-person impact takes the form of workshops relating to basic scientific ideas, creating appealing lessons for young students and to create a lasting positive impact on their educational careers.
FG: Why do you think it’s important for your generation to let their voices be heard?
I think it’s very important for our voices to be heard because it signifies the importance of a change we are bringing to the GenZ society by promoting more girls to be in STEM. In other words, with our voices, we are able to bring a positive influence to our world through inspiration and education by incorporating girls into gaining an interest + degree + career in science. Throughout, if we collaborate and bring our voices to our community, our world can start listening to the value of our concepts, which would reorient our future generation as a whole seeing women becoming leaders through STEM. FG: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
I am very optimistic about the future because I think our GenZ leaders can convince our society to bringing change through multiple actions, whether it is through social media or not. For instance, our motives have brought change to our community that influenced many girls to be a part of “Girls for Science.” (We got over 110 applications!) Therefore, I am very optimistic about our future [going] forward, knowing that many girls (even those who are NOT a part of “Girls for Science”) today wish to gain a career in STEM. FG: What are the most important issues facing our world right now? And in the future?
Some important issues that are facing our world are gender equality and climate change. Through our nonprofit, we advocate for these issues on a social media–based platform to restrict these harmful actions from occurring in the future. In other words, we stand up for what’s right since we want to portray equality for all in the STEM field by adapting our organization through social media platforms and our local communities by doing workshops. Adding on, climate change is a big issue going on today with the rising of Earth’s temperature, which would cause multiple problems to our society. Due to this, we created a branch of our organization desired to act against the heating up [of] our one and only planet. FG: What does your organization offer that helps the world be a better place?
Our organization offers many different opportunities, such as graphic designing, writing, communicating, and much more in order to imply the significance of women in STEM, which would influence many girls to follow the same career path as well. Additionally, as we influence girls through educating them based on the different opportunities in STEM and how they are dominant by moving through generation after generation in the future, our world will be filled with women leaders in STEM, which would show that us as girls are no less in succeeding in STEM than men.
Poverty is one of the most important factors for determining whether a girl can access and complete her education. Studies consistently reinforce that girls who face multiple disadvantages — such as low family income, living in remote or underserved locations or who have a disability or belong to a minority ethno-linguistic group — are farthest behind in terms of access to and completion of education.
FG: Please tell us all about your current campaigns, projects, and endeavors.
As a whole, our nonprofit does many acts of involvement to help inspire and educate girls to be a part of the STEM community. For instance, our main endeavors consist of Instagram takeovers, Words Matter (writing articles), and STEM stories (one-on-one interviews with girls who are passionate about pursuing a career in STEM). In addition, during the school year and summer previous to COVID-19, our organization has hosted many workshops in our state as well as in India since we want to not only address over social media our motives but also physically so that girls can get an understanding of our cause. Hosting workshops in Florida and abroad allow us to increase our outreach.
A Cleveland, OH, native, Flora Gonska is a non-binary trans woman from a big family. She's a writer, video producer/editor, and artist. An avid supporter of the LGBTQ+ community and equality movement, she has lived in Los Angeles for three years, and she's involved in and enjoys writing on politics, the LGBTQ+ community, and life in the U.S.