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Seattle 7th grader paving way for more girls to succeed in math and science

A middle school student in Seattle is trying to pave the way for more girls to succeed in math and science.

Elena Weitz, 12, is a 7th grader at Seattle Country Day School.

She said her goal is to start a nonprofit to get more girls into STEM.

“My favorite subject is science. I just love science,” said Weitz.

This week she and 15 of her classmates got to tour the UW Medicine Stem Cell Labs in South Lake Union.

There they got to meet and see research scientists at work, many of them female.

“This is truly an amazing experience,” said Weitz. “I just hope we can expose as many girls as possible to these kinds of experiences.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women make up 48 percent of the workforce, but only 24 percent are workers in STEM fields. STEM stands for “science, technology, engineering and mathematics."

Research also shows girls tend to lose interest in STEM as they transition from middle to high school.

“I am really excited to see these young girls and how interested they are in the fields,” said UW research scientist Savannah Cook.

Cook’s colleague, Dr. Lil Pabon, said she hopes more young women seek out ways to succeed in science and medicine.

“It’s one of those things that we want to impart this passion that we have,” said Pabon. “They can dream about therapies that can be developed by them in the future.