DENVER (CBS4) – This year’s Girls & Science event hosted by CBS4 and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science kicks off this weekend in a unique way. It’s the 7th year for the event, but rather than the traditional crowd of inquiring young minds at the museum, girls are encouraged to join a myriad of STEAM professionals for a month-long virtual event via Zoom.
“We wanted to make it fun, wanted to still make it a party, even though it’s virtual,” said Meteorologist Lauren Whitney who spearheads the event. One Zoom link unlocks an entourage of professionals in STEAM careers and allows people access to the speakers all month long.
For the first time this year students can experience a Bitmoji world. With just a “click,” girls and boys can take a tour of the virtual newsroom. They can experience the weather “green screen,” lights, cameras and microphones. They can also join Lauren in her virtual clubhouse.
Whitney tells CBS4’s morning anchor Britt Moreno that her clubhouse this year is called Lauren Whitney’s Precipitation Party. “So you’ll learn about snow and rain and sleet and freezing rain and then different weather instruments,” said Whitney.
Whitney admits forecasting Colorado’s ever-changing weather is challenging, but that is exactly what maintains her passions about the career.
“Every day is different. It’s like a puzzle and we are all just trying to work and see how the pieces fit,” said Whitney.
Whitney says girls will also learn about the people behind these STEAM careers.
“We’re going to be talking about all these different scientists and what they are like as a real person. There’s more to people than just their jobs. What we do at home, what we do behind the scenes. Everyone’s path is different.”
Much like Colorado weather can be, Whitney’s journey to becoming a forecaster was a bit surprising. She studied sports broadcasting in college and then landed her first job in news. Her then-boss asked her to anchor the station’s weather coverage in Grand Junction as well. Years later she went back to school and earned her meteorology degree.
Now Whitney enjoys reading and cheering on the Colorado Rockies. She looks forward to this special month where she can perhaps connect with other young women interested in STEAM.
Her big piece of advice for girls is “spend time with like-minded people. Find a group of girlfriends. A girl tribe and talk about STEAM or other interests. They will support you and courage you and you can have these friends forever.”
Whitney might just be that friend for some girls hoping to achieve their dreams in STEAM as well.