Program steers high school girls toward science fields

July 26, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The Women's Health Science Program for High School Girls and Beyond (WHSP) is a weeklong curriculum for high school girls developed by Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dr. Teresa Woodruff, who developed the program, hopes it will steer more girls towards medicine.

"We think girls need more opportunity to see what the possibility is for them in their lives and sometimes girls think of themselves in other careers, but not as scientists," said Woodruff. "We have them interfacing with scientists, clinicians, nurses, physical assistants and really ask them to involve themselves in the discovery process of science that then translates into human health."

The students, who experience science firsthand through experiments that include documenting bacteria growth on hamburger meat, say they appreciate the lessons.

"The other day we learned how to put an IV in just like the medical students would for a patient, but we used a machine," said Shontoria Pratt, a senior at Young Women's Leadership Charter School.

Melinda Medina, who graduated from Noble Street Charter School, plans to study pre-medicine at Cornell College. She says the program has given her the support she needs.

"I lived in a community where I would constantly see things like gunshots and people being killed. I also saw friends being injured and just random people in the neighborhood, and I always felt like I needed to do something," said Medina.

The program is free. High school girls interested in participating in WHSP can find the application here:

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