Divya and Sweta Srinivasan are twin sisters from Orlando, Florida. They are the Founders of Girls for Science, an organization that empowers girls to learn more about and pursue the STEM fields to lead to a gender equal future.
The two started their organization in 2017 through collaborating with another non-profit to conduct a workshop in India. After having the opportunity to interact with and teach girls about disease prevention and the scientific method in India, Divya and Sweta were inspired to begin Girls for Science.
Question 1 : We love what you two did with your recent workshops in India about disease prevention and inventions by women. What was the process of creating those workshops like?
Divya: We wanted to create a presentation that would stay with the students. In order to do that, we put together a PowerPoint and made sure to include a hands-on science project that the students could participate in. We find that whenever students are able to take part in something hands-on, the message that we are trying to deliver sticks more. Sweta and I created a simple PowerPoint with our main points and made sure to deliver our message through the project.
Sweta: We wanted to create a fun and informative presentation to present to the girls. We chose to do an experiment to teach about disease prevention and the proper hand washing technique. For inventions about women, Divya and I decided to make a PowerPoint on everyday inventions that we take for granted that were invented by women. We did this to show that even the simplest inventions have an enormous impact on our everyday life.
Question 2 : What are the biggest lessons that both of you have learned along the way?
Divya: To me, the biggest lesson was to never be afraid of communication. Speaking with adults and explaining what I do can be intimidating. Throughout my time explaining to adults what exactly it is that I do, I have gathered the courage to express myself. I am no longer scared to speak about what I love to others around me!
Sweta: The biggest lesson I learned was how to communicate and stay organized. Now, with a team of over 30 members, communication and organization are everything. Moreover, communicating with adults and other organizations is a huge lesson I have learned. You have to be confident in yourself and your organization to be successful.
Question 3 : How does being teenagers give you guys a different perspective on the gender gap in science than someone that is already in the working field?
Divya: As a teenager, I have never had to directly face the gender gap in terms of work. The idea that there is a gender gap in certain STEM fields does bother me, however. As someone who is going to be entering the professional world in the future, however, I want to make sure that I am being compensated fairly for the work that I will be doing.
Sweta: Being a teenager and seeing that women in the working field experience this gender gap motivates me to want to help with this problem for myself and other girls my age, as we will be entering the working field in the not too distant future.
Question 4 : What are your favourite parts about working on Girls for Science?
Divya: My favourite part about working on Girls for Science is getting to interact with students! Meeting girls in India and getting the opportunity to speak with them is always so much fun. When students tell us that they had fun during workshops, it is always rewarding and makes all of the work we put into the workshops worth it!
Sweta: My favourite part about working on Girls for Science is conducting the workshops and after-school programs. There is something so special about seeing the interest and drive these girls have for the STEM fields. Being able to interact with these girls and learn about their stories and their ambitions in life is such an incredible experience.
Question 5 : How did you guys come up with Girls for Science Environmental?
Divya: One of our team members, Aneesha Nayak, reached out to Sweta and I and gave us the idea! As many people are aware, the climate crisis is a very important problem that needs to be addressed. Educating people about what they can do to help the planet is something that we believe is extremely important.
Sweta: One of the members on our team, Aneesha Nayak, talked to us about how she was very passionate about bringing awareness to the climate crisis. From this, we decided to create Girls for Science Environmental where we strive to educate others about how to improve the environment.
Question 6 : What other hobbies do you each have? How do you balance your time between running Girls for Science and those other passions? What keeps you grounded and motivated during hectic times?
Divya: My favourite things to do include reading, visiting local coffee shops, and educating myself about United States politics. I have a very broad range of interests and I am passionate about all of them! Girls for Science is a passion of mine, so I never find myself having to unwillingly carve out a time in my schedule in order to work on it. Something that keeps me grounded and motivated is my family. They are so supportive of me and the work that I do and I am so grateful for them!
Sweta: I love stationery, visiting coffee shops, and conducting scientific research! Girls for Science is one of my hobbies, so working on it is enjoyable for me. Spending time with my friends and family keeps me grounded and motivated during hectic times because of how supportive they are of what I do, and I am so thankful to all of them for that!
Question 7 : What does the future look like for GFS?
Divya: In the future, we plan on doing more hands-on projects with our team. We would love to plan more workshops and are always looking for new collaborations!
Sweta: For the future, we plan on collaborating with other organizations and extending our outreach of workshops to many more places around the country, and eventually the world!
Question 8 : What advice do you two have for someone looking to start their own initiative to close the gender gap in the workplace?
Divya: My advice for those who want to start their own initiative is to be brave and always aim high. Starting an organization can be scary, but knowing your worth and knowing that what you are doing will make the world a better place makes everything worth it. Aim high and always strive to be the best you can possibly in order to set an example to those who may look up to you for inspiration. Stick with the goals you set and keep doing what you’re doing, because what you’re doing will change the world.
Sweta: My advice for someone looking to start their own initiative is to be very passionate and confident in what you do. With passion and confidence comes progress and change. Divya and I are really passionate about the STEM fields and that is why we aim to close the gender gap in the STEM fields.
Question 9 : What are your favourite foods?
Divya: My favourite food is coffee (which arguably isn’t a food, but we can count it anyway). I also LOVE rice. Healthy, I know.
Sweta: My favourite foods are nachos and gobi manchurian (an Indo-Chinese dish)!
Follow Girls For Science and Girls For Science Environmental!
Twitter: @girls4sciencefl ( https://twitter.com/girls4sciencefl )
LinkedIn: Girls For Science FL ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/girls-for-science-fl-34a53218a/ )