I’m Wired for Science
By Shannon McClintock
Lawrence H. Summers, the president of
Harvard University, recently sparked controversy
when he suggested that women lack the ability to
excel at math and science. Shannon McClintock, 15,
of San Diego—the 2004 grand prize winner in the
sixth annual Discovery Channel Young Scientist
So some bigwig from Harvard tells the world
that girls just aren’t wired to be scientists. Well, the
boys better watch out, because there’s a new generation
of girls ahead—ready to take comments like these as
challenges and to show what girl power really can
do. I am one of them.
Growing up, maybe I wasn’t like every other girl.
I had Barbies, but I also had Lincoln Logs and Legos.
When I was 4 years old, I built arches and ramps
with square blocks.
My parents and some excellent teachers were my
best mentors. They taught me to question why things
are as they are. But, like most of the girls in my classes,
I started to lose interest in science by middle school.
Then I got into my science fair project, “The Little
Engine That Could, which dealt with giving train
tracks extra traction. I started winning competitions,
and this little engine didn’t stop after that first hill. I
went as far as the Discovery Channel Young Scientist
Challenge! I—along with 21 other females—was one
of the top 40 middle-school scientists in the nation.
We tested Einstein’s theories using a skateboard
ramp and lasers, and I learned that science is more
than guys in white coats locked in a lab. I love science
and engineering. And I’ll do much more than one
little science fair project—maybe even discover the
cure to Alzheimer’s or design a space rover! I’m a
girl, and that’s just how I’m wired.
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