Project aims to increase number of women in geophysics

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will begin a study designed to encourage high school-age girls to consider geophysics and technology science careers through summer academies.

The National Science Foundation is funding the three-year, $1.1 million project, called BRIGHT Girls — short for Budding Research Investigators in Geosciences, Habitat and Technology.

The project, managed by UAF’s Geophysical Institute, will hold a 10-day free summer academy in Fairbanks next summer as a pilot program. Girls in grades 9-12 will study salmon life history, ecology and habitat through direct observation and remote sensing techniques, including unmanned aircraft. The following two years, the program will also be offered in Juneau, where it will focus on harbor seals. The hope is to reach about 140 girls. An online application will be available in the spring.