DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is offering up what one of its scientists calls a creative spin on career fairs on Saturday, Feb. 7.
“The idea is to use these themes of clubhouses,” said Dr. Nicole Garneau. “That’s way more fun and exciting for people to really hear these stories of women behind science. You don’t just learn what they do but who they are and what inspired them.”
Garneau said the event targets more than just girls; it’s also about getting families on board, “Girls up to a certain age already believe they can do whatever they want.
“They have lots of confidence in themselves. We want this to be for the families so the parents, brothers and cousins see all this inspiration going on because these are the people ultimately influencing these gals.”
Garneau is a geneticist who works at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. She is exploring how our DNA affects our ability taste and in turn, our food choices and diet.
As for the science part of the event, Garneau said it is important to change the message that science is for girls.
“At the end of the day, 50 percent of the work force is women and only 24 percent are in STEM.”
STEM is the acronym for school curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering and math.
But she also said it’s about sending the message of how children think about their future, pointing to her family’s influence on how she looked at her career path.
“The people surrounding me when I was growing up, they didn’t force me to answer the statement, ‘I want to be X’ when I was growing up. This is really important because that’s a really limiting statement. It sets you up for saying you only want to be something you know about.
“The reality is we are training our children for jobs that don’t exist yet.”
Garneau said it’s also about girls — and boys — having the ability to move past obstacles.
“My parents and teachers thought about it in terms of ‘What do you want to do?’ This is active, this is using verbs.
“For me, I wanted to make discoveries in human genetics. I thought human genetics was it, that was like the new space frontier for me.
“I want to work with people, I want to share my passion and communicate science beyond the realm of just professional scientists. That could have taken me in a lot of directions, I didn’t close doors. I left a lot of doors open career-wise. I would have never thought in a million years that I would end up at a museum.”