By Erika, age 14

BridgeUp: STEM is a 3-year science and coding program for high school girls funded by the Helen Gurley Brown Revocable Trust and hosted by the American Museum of Natural History. Each year of the program provides Brown Scholars, girls accepted to the program, a different experience relating to science and coding.

The first “year” is offered twice a week during the school year or as an intensive program 5 days a week for 6 weeks over the summer. During the summer intensive version, each of the first 5 weeks focuses on a different scientific subject. The topics are earthquakes, climate change, anthropology, evolution, and astronomy. In the final week, the 20 Brown Scholars split into 5 groups to dive deeper and make a final project about one of the topics they studied during the program.

The second year is an internship (with a stipend), where the school year and summer cohorts are grouped together and split into groups to work with Helen Fellows. Helen Fellows are women that have finished their undergraduate studies and are working with museum scientists for a year to pursue research opportunities. Part of the fellows’ responsibilities is to pair up with museum scientists to design projects for the Brown Scholars.

The third year is filled with field trips and workshops, which are held twice a month. I am currently in the second year, but I can say that I am a hundred percent enjoying this incredible program! For my internship, I’m coding a website and a touch table about corals! I got to meet various scientists during the summer, as well as the scientist whose research I am using for the website.

I would recommend this program for all girls who are interested in science and/or coding. It is well taught by female scientists and teachers, and gives girls the opportunity to bond with other girls who are interested in science and coding. The application for this summer is currently available!