Project Scientist, Sandy Marshall: inspiring girls ages 4 to 12

By SHARAEL KOLBERG

Laguna Beach resident Sandy Marshall, founder of Project Scientist, is inspiring girls ages four to 12 with an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through impactful summer camps and expeditions now being offered in OC.

“The need for Project Scientist was based upon a vast amount of research that shows girls with a high skill, aptitude, and talent for STEM subjects are not currently served or identified at a young age,” says Marshall. 

“The vision of Project Scientist is to transform the face of STEM by nurturing today’s future scientists who will lead the world in solving tomorrow’s greatest challenges!”

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Sandy Marshall

Personally, Marshall had experienced gender stereotyping and a lack of role models as she pursued a STEM major in college and as a result changed majors. As a mother of two young girls with a passion for science, Marshall is dedicated to changing the status quo for her girls, as well as girls across the country. 

“Underserved and unidentified girls are not provided STEM opportunities at a pace, depth, and breadth commensurate with their talents and interests. I founded Project Scientist to change the world’s view of ‘who’ a scientist is and ‘what’ a scientist does,” says Marshall. “Our goal is to change society’s perception of girl’s interest and aptitude in STEM, in the end helping all girls.”

While working as the Executive Director and Founder of The NASCAR Foundation, which is now a $5 million organization, Marshal learned of the disadvantages that girls and women have in STEM majors and careers, and became committed to doing what she could to make a difference in her own community. 

Project Scientist began summer 2011 out of Marshall’s guesthouse while living in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now the organization is serving 1,000 girls nationwide on four University campuses. 

Having returned to Laguna Beach, she is thrilled to be able to bring her program to Orange County and is hosting the first Project Scientist expedition on Monday, Oct 10 at the office of, sponsor and partner, State Street Corporation. 

State Street is a global financial services company responsible for 11 percent of the world’s assets. The girl scientists will be hosted by their Professional Women’s Network at their Irvine office. The girls will receive a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of how they work, a catered lunch, and complete a rigorous hands-on math, engineering, and problem solving challenge. The day will end with a UC Irvine Engineering lab tour. 

Project Scientist’s Summer Academy camps are intentional and based off the latest research of what drives and sustains girls’ interest in STEM. The organization partners with Harvard and the University of North Carolina Charlotte to research their model and validate the impact. 

Over the course of six weeks students are immersed in STEM, learning from a tailored curriculum facilitated by highly skilled and credentialed educators, exciting hands-on experiments and field trips, and daily interactions with female STEM role models from a variety of professional fields.

To learn more about Project Scientist programs, or to make a donation, visit www.projectscientist.org.

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