With help from you, the Seattle Aquarium is now actively connecting young girls with female scientists via the newly launched Gills Club, a STEM-based education initiative developed by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy.
Combating the notion that “only boys like sharks,” the effort is targeted at girls ages 6–12, who learn about the work and research of female scientists from around the world during activity-filled meetings. The goal? To inspire shark and ocean conservation, and provide a powerful reminder that careers in marine science are for everyone.
Says Marine Science Interpreter Melody Upton, “The really great thing about Gills Club is how we are trying to connect young girls to not only science in general but to female scientists, and helping them learn more about sharks with the hopes of inspiring shark and ocean conservation. It’s been incredible to help support young girls be involved in the shark science field and empower them to live every week like it’s Shark Week!”
Q & A: Gills Club
A conversation between Marine Science Interpreter Melody Upton, Gills Club member Grace (age 6), and Grace’s mom, Michelle.
Melody: What are some of your favorite things about Gills Club?
Grace: It’s cool. We get to learn about sharks and things that we might have never ever known. It’s really fun!
Michelle: Grace is interested in becoming a wildlife veterinarian so anything to do with animals and science is perfect for her. The girls really get a chance to independently learn, and I like that.
Melody: What’s one thing you’ve learned at Gills Club?
Grace: When you are looking on the underside of a shark, if there are two sets of under fins then it’s a boy, and if wasn’t, it’s a girl.
Michelle: A shark has a very large liver in order to control its buoyancy.
Melody: What do you think about sharks, Grace?
Grace: We need them because they are important to the food chain. Some sharks are really cool because they can glow or they don’t eat meat. Like lantern sharks and whale sharks.
Registration for the October 29 Gills Club meeting is now open! Visit our website to register.