GirlsTalk program

This spring, a new radio program called GirlTalk will begin as a collaboration between the Carnegie Science Center’s Girls, Math & Science Partnership (GMSP) and The Saturday Light Brigade, an award-winning public radio program.

The program will be hosted by girls, ages 11 to 15, with help from the producers of The Saturday Light Brigade, whose studio the girls will be using.

GMSP, according to the Carnegie Science Center’s website, is “a focused campaign to influence and support girls’ interest and participation in math, science, and technology in schools and for future careers.”

Kim Bonenberger, marketing communications manager at the Carnegie Science Center, stated in a March press release, “Participants will interview woman scientists working in the Pittsburgh region in science, math, engineering, and technology fields, then turn those interviews into a series of radio broadcasts and podcasts.”

Jennifer Stancil, executive director of GMSP, said that the program was “inspired by the desire to do ‘virtual mentoring’ in a new way, to enhance girls’ knowledge of technology by using regional assets like The Saturday Light Brigade radio show and expertise, [and] to continue to place positive media images of women in math and science as the current images are rare and the women are not diverse.”

The Carnegie Science Center press release points out that the scientists who will be interviewed will be both established and emerging in their fields.

These scientists come from a wide range of backgrounds, including food chemistry, nanotechnology, and environmental science. In the program, they will talk about their area of expertise and how they are impacting them.

A team of broadcasters will instruct the girls on how to use the production equipment. Bonenberger stated that they will “provide participants with hands-on training in interviewing, digital recording, and audio production, thus giving participants control of the process and exposure to the latest in digital audio technology.”

In addition to interviewing Pittsburgh scientists, Stancil said that the girls will be mentored by a number of other professionals. These professionals include the staff of The Saturday Light Brigade and Kate Long from West Virginia public radio.

Bernadine Diaz, a professor from Carnegie Mellon’s computer science department, will also serve as a mentor for GirlTalk.

Sixteen girls will be chosen to enter the GirlTalk program based on their enthusiasm and motivation, and they can have a variety of interests. Stancil said, “We are trying to ensure a diverse representation around the city of girls of various ages. They do not all have to love science. There is an interesting cross section in the applicants of science girls and theater/drama/radio girls.”

Bonenberger said that the chosen girls will be “excited, adventurous, curious, and willing to work hard; interested in talking to adults and learning about what they do; and fascinated by science, technology, digital audio, radio, and/or podcasting.”

Stancil said that she wants the GirlTalk program to help the girls gain confidence in solving problems.

Stancil said, “I want them to see that they can do science, they can inquire and be curious — that they are the building blocks for success in science and in solving problems, I want them to create awesome podcasts and at their red-carpet premiere say they are proud of their work.”

The interviews will be available as podcasts from and will debut on air in the summer of 2007, after their kickoff at the Carnegie Science Center.