Cuts for Gabbiee Postponed Until Further Notice
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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Scholars Capstone Spotlight: Self-Agency in our Girls

Jesni Sam is a recent RVHS Scholars Academy Magnet for Business and Law graduate. For her Senior Capstone Research Project, she investigated how social norms imposed on women affect self-agency in middle school girls. Middle School is an impressionable time for all adolescents. During this time it is important that girls are not taught to limit their abilities but are motivated to chase their aspirations. Previous studies have shown that girls are overshadowed by boys in classes, especially in science. Teachers are more likely to encourage boys to pursue careers in the STEM field than they are to encourage girls. Girls are also less comfortable to voice their opinions and be themselves when there is pressure to never make mistakes. Sam's research was based on observing single gendered classrooms to see how male and female students interacted with their teachers as well as their peers. She also held a focus group with four eighth grade students who were in a single gendered magnet program. The girls reported that they felt less comfortable in classes with boys due to the fear of being judged based on questions they ask or comments they make. They also stated that there are less distractions without the boys in class. Other testimonies included that boys are unwilling to let girls participate in their games. When the boys do let girls join their game, they avoid throwing the ball to them because they believe the girls are incapable of helping them win. Sam concluded that the best way to help girls grow knowing that they are capable of achieving their goals is for adults to be sure not to transfer sexist views on to their students. Parents should also teach girls not to take risk and play it safe. Sam believes that when these precautions are taken society will take a step forward into becoming stronger and more economically stable. She plans on attending the University of South Carolina and major in nursing in the fall.