Sunday, October 1, 2023

Fort Fisher aquarium to spotlight women in STEM

A young visitor interacts with a diver at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. (Courtesy NCAFF)

KURE BEACH — Young females interested in a STEM career have the opportunity to meet professionals in the field and take part in hands-on activities.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road in Kure Beach, will host Femme in STEM Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to look through microscopes, experience a tornado machine and get their hands dirty with soil samples.

For the aquarium, it is important for young girls to see someone like themselves in STEM fields. Research shows that starting around middle school, girls start losing interest in science and other STEM subjects, according to a press release. The aquarium is showcasing the variety of STEM fields that are open for career paths, while facilitating an interactive experience with people working in those fields.

“Femme in STEM has grown in popularity every year and we love that because it means more young women have an opportunity to see themselves in a science, technology, engineering and math career,” NCAFF unique experiences coordinator Gail Lemiec said in the release. “We hope that more people and minds pursue STEM fields to help solve complex issues in our environment. We are all about saving species at the Aquarium and the people who are doing that work are in STEM,”

The event started in 2019 with an in-person showing but was virtual in 2020 and 2021. Last year, 16 organizations participated with 70 exhibitors engaging 2,100 visitors for the event.

This year’s participants include professionals from the National Weather Service Wilmington, Alcami Corporation, New Hanover County Parks and Gardens, UNCW Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve, NC Sea Grant, Museum of Coastal Carolina and Ingram Planetarium, Marine CSI, Davey Resource Group, Department of Enviornmental Sciences at UNCW, UNCW Marine Mammal Stranding Program, and the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehab Center.

The event is included in aquarium admission cost. Advance tickets are required to be purchased online.

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