NewsHillsborough County


Girl power fuels marine science camp for young women taught by female scientists

"Mission Tampa Bay" empowers middle-school girls
Mission Tampa Bay
Posted at 5:24 AM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-16 07:50:54-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Serena McRae is having the best day ever.

After all, the 13-year-old middle-schooler wants to go into marine science when she's older, and here she is piloting an underwater drone at the Florida Aquarium.

"I never thought I'd get to do something like this!" she said.

McRae is part of a super STEM summer camp called "Mission: Tampa Bay," where Hillsborough County middle-school girls are taught marine science and environmental care by female scientists.

Empowerment, encouragement and girl power all the way.

These girls will be leaders in more ways than one, say the women guiding the program.

"[STEM programs for girls are] essential for the workplace and society," said NOAA scientist Dr. Tracy Fanara, adding that keeping girls interested in science at this age is especially crucial.

"Mission: Tampa Bay" is funded in part by the Department of Defense. Besides learning how to operate an underwater drone at the Florida Aquarium, the girls will also board a boat on the bay and study the water.

Teacher and marine biologist Tiffany Oliver said this camp is nothing less than life-changing.

"They are doing things they'd never get a chance to do," she said.