How These Teenage Stars Are Activating Thousands of Students to Take on Science and Math

By Sarah Kim

“We are a group of insanely smart girls that all have different specialties, backgrounds, interests, and looks,” says Genneya Walton, 17. “Together, we get things done.”

Gennaya plays Bryden Bandweth on Project Mc2, an Emmy-nominated Netflix original series. In the show, she teams up with five other brilliant teenagers who use STEM/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) to fight crime and execute top-secret missions.

Now, Gennaya and the other stars of Project Mc2 (Victoria Vida (17), Mika Abdalla (16), Ysa Penarejo (16), Belle Shouse (16), and Alyssa Lynch (21)) are empowering other teens to boost their STEM skills and unlock donations to classrooms in need.

The US has fallen behind in STEM fields, in part because classrooms can’t afford resources for equipment and books. That’s why the actors are promoting the Science Sleuth game from DoSomething.org and 3M! In this text-message game, players use science and math to gather clues and solve a mystery. In the end, they can unlock donations to (real!) classrooms through DonorsChoose.org.

Afterwards, we talked to the stars about STEM/STEAM and why it’s important to encourage young girls to pursue those fields.

DoSomething.org: Why do you think it’s important to fund science and math programs in schools?

Ysa Penarejo (Camryn Coyle): It’s important to fund these types of programs to help students be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.

Belle Shouse (Ember Evergreen): Everyone excels in different ways. We all have our specialties, and it is important to encourage these specialties at home as well as at school. There are a small percentage of students who go into the STEAM field; this may be caused by not having the resources of a funded program available. It is important to encourage the drive at a young age.

DS.org: What message do you want this show to send to young students, especially girls?

Victoria Vida (Adrienne Atoms): Own up to who you are, because what makes YOU different is what makes YOU unique! Our world is so enthralling and beautiful because of its diversity. It would be a very boring place if we were all the same, right? My motto to all YOU chicas and chicos is, “Don’t erase yourself, EMBRACE yourself!”

Mika Abdalla (McKeyla McAlister): Don't be afraid of expressing your love for STEAM. Having a love for something like science or math doesn't make you less "cool"; it makes you unique, which is such a good thing!

Genneya Walton (Bryden Bandweth): Go for it! If it is your passion then do everything in your power to pursue it, and don’t let anyone or anything stop you. It is easy to get discouraged when things get difficult, but you can’t let it steer you away from your dream. As with all things in life, there will be bumps along the journey, so learn from your mistakes and keep going because the future is promising.

You can play the Science Sleuth game now and even enter to win a $5,000 scholarship. But hurry! The game closes on November 30.

Sarah Kim is currently a senior at Barnard College of Columbia University, studying economics and sociology. She is also the current Writing Intern at DoSomething.org. Sarah aspires to become a civil/disability rights lawyer one day, while pursuing her interest in writing.

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