Nine-year-old Charlie Gregoroff said that if she were to ever dig up a dinosaur bone, it would mark the best day of her life.
“I would be the first person to ever see the bone that has been buried for millions and millions of years,” the third-grader from Hobson Elementary said as she examined the massive jaws of a cast Tyrannosaurus Rex skull exhibit Saturday afternoon. “That would be the neatest experience ever.”
Gregoroff was among nearly 2,000 people who attended the sixth annual Chicks in Science event, held Saturday afternoon in Alterowitz Gymnasium at Montana State University Billings.
Girls in grades 4 through 8 explored about 50 booths with interactive displays set up to engage and pique their interest in fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The exhibits included such things as careers in medicine, architecture, paleontology, aviation, energy and engineering.
Chicks in Science was created in 2008 to introduce young girls to science and math in an appealing way and to show how science directly relates to their lives.
Tammy Johnston, who coordinated this year’s program through the MSUB Downtown campus, said studies have shown that girls in the grades 4 through 8 tend to lose interest in science and math. They think the subjects are just for boys or, in some cases, that it’s “un-cool” to be smart.
“This event completely shatters these stereotypes and helps them to see that math and science can be fun, fascinating and fabulous,” Johnston said.
“Chicks in Science is about planting seeds by motivating, inspiring and empowering these young women to recognize the endless opportunities available to them in the fields of science and math.”
Saturday's event expanded to both levels of the gym and was designed around a mentoring program for girls to spend time with female role models in their fields of interest.
“The hope is that when these girls meet women role models in the science and math fields, they see the diverse and endless opportunities for their future,” Johnston said.
Eight women who have made achievements in their fields were honored and introduced to the young aspiring scientists to show the diverse examples across STEM professions.
“Love what you do and do what you love,” honoree and math teacher Lisa Wood told the girls. “Math and science is going to get you where you need to go.”