Summer in Review: U Program Encourages Women to Enter Science

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In sixth grade, Amanda Whitehead wanted to become a botanist.

Her goals have changed several times since then, but one common thread held them all: She wanted to study science.

Now in her second year at the University of Utah, she works in a research lab, exploring the complexities of theoretical chemistry.

With her appetite for science, she won an ACCESS scholarship, a program that celebrated its 10th anniversary during the weekend of May 19.

The ACCESS program offers stipends, special classes and research opportunities annually for approximately 20 female science students.

A decade ago, the program?s founders noticed a high drop-out rate among female students in math and science programs within their first years. Even female students who appeared to be doing well felt they were ?barely making it,? said Chris Johnson, a former ACCESS program director.

Christina Yong also received her scholarship in 1999. For her, it was a boost toward a career in science that she would have pursued regardless.

She enjoys having the other women to share her interest with.

?They get really excited about my research,? she said.