At this point we all know there is a lack of young women entering the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). There are a number of reasons why but few creative attempts to solve the dilemma. The Octavia Project is a new program for young girls in Brooklyn to get them engaged in science, technology, engineering by using science fiction, fantasy, and fan fiction as the impetus for their creativity.
The project was dreamed up by a robotics teacher, Meghan McNamara, and a science fiction author, Chana Porter. Meghan gave me some of her time to answer questions I had about the project. You can find my interview here.
They are in the final days of their fundraising campaign to finance their inaugural Summer program.
Here’s a bit from their Indiegogo site:
Sci-fi and fantasy can be used to imagine new ways of living and new futures. But girls of color and immigrant girls rarely see themselves in the futures they read about in popular sci-fi and fantasy. The Octavia Project will expose girls from low-income neighborhoods and under-served schools to sci-fi and fantasy that includes them, and will give them the space and resources to imagine and build alternative futures for themselves and their communities. With our program, girls will be encouraged to dream big while being empowered with skills to design their own futures.
Additionally, the Octavia Project will use girls’ own interest in sci-fi to unlock their passion for science, technology, engineering, and math BEFORE they internalize the familiar narrative of “I’m not a math person” or “Science just isn’t my thing”.
Why? Because a majority of students who enter high school excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), leave school uninterested in these subjects. Because girls and students from low-income homes are significantly less likely to be engaged in STEM as they grow older, thanks to unequal access and biased norms.
With your support, the Octavia Project will offer dynamic programming that connects skill-building in science and tech with girls’ personal interests and hobbies, forging a safe space for teenage girls to learn through joy and creation.
Author of speculative fiction N.K. Jemisin discussing what science fiction and fantasy meant to her..
Want to learn more? Visit The Octavia Project: