As women in science professions throughout the Portland area, young women interested in science professions, and the many SOLVE, ARAMARK, and Pacficic Univeristy staff poured in the doors Saturday morning, it was evident something wonderful was about to happen. With so many people dedicated to making this event a optimistic, encouraging, and educational one for the young girls, the stage was set for a successful event… and a successful event it was!
Girls were greeted at the door by Charlie (SOLVE), given a resource information packet, and instructed to sit wherever they’d like. From there, we heard our mentors introduce themselves and immediately knew we were in the presence of great inteligence, hope, and strength. Next, our executive director, Melisa McDonald, welcomed us to the event, thanked us for being there and wished us well in our endeavors with science in the great state of Oregon and beyond. Gina (SOLVE) then gave us a brief history of women in science, explained that things have not always been very easy for women making serious advancements and creating movements in science, often lacking the respect they have deserved. The message she shared was that despite all of the struggles, women HAVE been incredible scientists throughout history and it is important that all young women know they can be the same. Also, it is always essential that we believe in ourselves, perservere, and do what we enjoy.
With introductions, presentations, and paperwork out of the way, the fun began! Students rotated from table to table, talking to most all of our fifteen mentors about their education, experiences, personal interests, and unique paths. Our mentors listened and shared advice with the girls, offering not only their experience but their personal story, references, and contact information. It was truly inspiring to see these conversations happening, to see hope for the future personified in our young, eager women.
From there, we headed out to Gales Creek to plant native trees and shrubs! Despite the sprinkling rain and muddy terrain we planted 300 plants in no time! These plants will do a great job at stablizing our banks, filtering out pollutants, shading our creek, and creating habitat for our native wildlife. The planting activity allowed girls to gain knowledge from mentors in a more casual way as we all teamed up together to make a difference as women in science.
We enjoyed some warm tea and were on our way back to Pacific University where we took a group photo and were given delicious lunches!
A million thanks to ARAMARK for breakfast and lunch, Pacific University for the great space, our INCREDIBLE mentors, and all SOLVE staff for your support and generosity towards this event! We could not have done it without you.
The amazing support and participation in this event indicates that women in science are active, hopeful, and ready and willing to make a difference in our world.
Thank you to Clean Water Services for funding this project!