The Best of Our Knowledge
1:13 am
Mon May 22, 2006

The Best of Our Knowledge # 818

Albany, NY – NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION SERIES
POWERFUL SIGNALS: TRANSFORMING THE ROLE OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
MESA - LA: MATH, ENGINEERING, AND SCIENCE ACHIEVEMENT -
Actress, Sigourney Weaver, describes herself as a serious science
junkie. She may be best known for her roles in movies like the Alien
series and Gorillas in the Mist. Weaver was at Syracuse University
a few days ago helping dedicate a new life sciences complex, and
called on more women to study science. The actress said women
might decide not to study science because it isn't always taught in
an interesting and exciting way. Well, that's not the case at Manual
Arts High School in South Central Los Angeles, where teacher, John
Santos, is doing all he can to change that perception. Girls in his
science academy are building robots and competing in science bowls
all the time. Fully half of his students last year were girls. And despite
the poor socio-economic urban conditions, not only did all the girls
graduate, about 40% went on to a four-year university, proving his
program's tremendous impact. We hear this amazing story through the
eyes of recent graduate, Yolanda Urbina. Urbina aspires to be an
astronaut and is enrolled now in engineering at UC Merced.
Robin Urevich reports from Los Angeles. (12:30)

**(To read more information about the schools mentioned in this
story, the website for Manual Arts High School is: www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Manual_Arts_HS.
The University of California, Merced website is: www.ucmerced.edu.)**

The preceding material is supported by the National Science
Foundation, under grant HRD-0436130. Any opinions, findings,
conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this story are those
of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of the National
Science Foundation.

**(Attention Program Directors. If listeners would like to hear this story
again, or other similar stories in our exclusive radio series, just visit our
dedicated website: www.womeninscience.org)**

SCIENCE RESEARCH AT THE UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL
CONTINUES TO GAIN STRENGTH -
Despite an increase in college enrollment over the past decade,
the proportion of students obtaining degrees in STEM...science,
technology, engineering, and math has fallen. According to testimony
before the U.S. House of Representatives' Education Committee this
month, graduate degrees awarded in STEM fields also declined.
The news is included in a Government Accountability Office report.
It suggests increased outreach at the K thru 12 grade level, especially
to female and minority students, and increased use of mentors to
encourage enrollment in those fields. What does it take to guide girls
and young women into science fields? TBOOK asked Hamilton College
chemistry major, Meghan Dunn, what influenced her decision?
Glenn Busby reports. (6:05)