The Girl with the Green Hair

By Grace Oathout

The fourth grade girls at Club Boulevard have a lot to balance. While wanting to have fun like all young girls, they also have to worry about their studies. Young girls begin falling behind in math as early as kindergarten, and few of them remember being encouraged to pursue STEM careers at a young age. That's different for fourth grader Claire Leslie. As the only girl in her AIG math class, math problems excite Claire, crediting her teachers Ms. Whaley and Ms. Lequire for making math so fun. With encouragement from teachers and friends, the fourth grade girls at Club Boulevard can accomplish anything.

When I came to Club Boulevard, I was surprised to see so few girls in the AIG math class we visited. This seemed to reflect a similar trend at Duke, where male students dominate STEM classes. I decided to focus on an older girl at Club Boulevard interested in math, and was so lucky that Claire was such an incredible focus. While I highlight Claire, her story speaks to the bigger issue that a girl interested in math is an anomaly. I hope that by encouraging one girl in my project, I can encourage many to be successful in their math and science classes as well. Getting the chance to observe Ms. Lequire and Ms. Whaley, as well as all of their students, was a pure joy every week this semester.