By Joanna Thurmann
Mary Celestin, a senior at Archbishop Mitty High School, has a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), and she wants to share it. She spearheaded the creation of an extensive educational curriculum aimed at introducing elementary school girls to various STEM fields, through interactive activities and labs. It is called Stimulating STEM: The Movement.
Mary enlisted the help of nine other high school friends to develop the lesson plans, design interactive experiments, and test them. She even solicited community partners to donate materials and received free engineering kits from company GoldieBlox. She is also working with Hicklebee’s and others to donate books toward the creation of a STEM library at a local school.
Mary’s interest began in the fourth grade. She was introduced to civil engineering when she heard a professional speak about the job. Ever since then, she has grown to love STEM and to see its importance in building a better world. Mary says, “Without such an introduction, I would not have developed the passion. So many of my girl friends claim that they ‘just aren’t that good’ at math and science, let alone consider such careers appealing and attainable.”
Mary thinks more girls would continue pursuit of STEM careers if they are exposed to them sooner. It is all about inspiration. “If I can help inspire girls at a young age, hopefully I can help prevent the declining interest in STEM among young girls.”
The 4-month, 10-session educational program consistently draws between 20-30 girls in grades 4-5 at Saint Francis Cabrini, but Mary has plans to expand it. Six K-8 schools within the Catholic Diocese are now using her curriculum and Mary cannot wait to see Stimulating STEM grow. She is now working to build a STEM club at Saint Frances Cabrini for boys and girls and has teamed up with the non-profit organization AiducateNow to empower underprivileged youth throughout the Bay Area.