Jackie Lomax is the Founder and Executive Director of Chicago’s first all-girls science initiative for 10-18 year-olds, Girls 4 Science.
Meet Jackie Lomax of Girls 4 Science
Your background includes communications, early childhood education, career counseling and tourism. What inspired you to get involved in science education for under-served kids?
A few years ago, my daughter expressed an interest in her science classes and wanted to learn more. I searched for after school programs and additional resources but could not find any. In that moment I decided I needed to be the change for my daughter and I started Girls 4 Science. Science is the backbone of our society with advances being made in all STEM fields every day. My primary focus is on the advancement of women in these disciplines. Girls 4 Science exists to introduce science to young women who don’t have the opportunity to deeply explore science in the traditional school system.
How does the Girls 4 Science program work?
Girls 4 Science is open to all girls free of charge. We offer four six-week sessions year-round at three locations throughout the Chicagoland. Classes meet every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., where the girls explore new science topics through lessons, engaging hands-on exercises and exciting field trips! I want the girls to explore science but at the same time have fun in doing so.
What constitutes success for this program?
The true measure of success at Girls 4 Science is the stories of girls being accepted into college, majoring in the male-dominated STEM fields and pursuing a related careers in industry after graduation. We hope to develop new locations throughout the city so we can encourage more young women across Chicago to explore their interests with Girls 4 Science and create brighter futures for themselves.
What can parents do at home to encourage girls who love science?
Girls 4 Science strongly encourages parent participation so we always provide opportunities for involvement within our program. At home, parents can encourage girls by talking about what they learned in class, taking them to museums, or doing at-home experiments. The best part about being a parent is being able to learn and grow with your kids. I wouldn’t be where I am now without learning and growing with my daughters.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Girls 4 Science is a program created around the idea of not giving up. When there is an area where opportunities do not exist, create them. When someone tells you no, show them your determination and provide the “yes.” Girls 4 Science believes in being female leaders in order to create future female leaders. We also wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of Chicago’s female business leaders and teachers who dedicate time and resources to Girls 4 Science.