Females in the Natural Sciences (F.I.N.S.)

F.I.N.S. will provide girls with hands-on experience in marine science as shark research volunteers with SRC.

The Females in Natural Sciences (F.I.N.S.) initiative is designed, developed, and implemented by girls for girls. Its overarching goal is to increase the number of women in STEM fields by providing middle and high school girls with an exciting hands-on experience in marine science as shark research volunteers under the mentorship of female University of Miami students. During the day-long shark tagging expedition, not only are participants able to experience research in action, they also have the opportunity to engage with an all-female research team at various stages of scientific careers.  The F.I.N.S. experience is interactive, empowering, and rewarding. Working under the supervision of female University of Miami students and faculty, the participants see powerful role models of women in science.

Trip Details:

  • Participation in official UMiami shark research, alongside a mainly female crew
  • One-day research trip, from ~8:30 am to ~4:30 pm
  • Assist in the collection of samples, including: taking a fin clip, tagging the shark, taking shark length measurements, and performing reflex tests. Want to see what you’ll be doing? Check out our F.I.N.S. photos and video library, and like our Facebook albums and Instagram!
  • At this time, we’re only able to accommodate groups of up to 23 girls. If you’re interested in joining an expedition but don’t have a group, see our Citizen Science page.
  • AGE LIMIT: All participants must be at least 10 years of age

According to the National Science Foundation, women are an underrepresented group in science representing only 25% of all STEM careers and only 11% of engineering jobs – despite composing 50% of the workforce.

Previous studies have revealed that girls presented with primarily male examples of scientists and engineers are less likely to think they could be successful in STEM careers, which is why the F.I.N.S. initiative is run by female graduate students and staff. This initiative is intended to ultimately inspire more women in STEM fields by providing girls with exciting and informal science experiences free of grades or evaluation, where they can seek inspiration and mentorship from relatable women at many stages of their scientific careers.

Some of the major objectives of this work include:
1. To address the gender disparity in STEM fields and encourage girls to stay engaged in the sciences;
2. To provide an exciting opportunity for children and youth to engage with nature;
3. To stimulate public interest in our oceans, particularly in the next generation.

The F.I.N.S. initiative is an extension of the SRC’s successful community outreach program, which provides more than 1,000 people from the public, mostly school children, with opportunities to participate in authentic scientific research. We are thankful to former SRC member and Fulbright scholar, Julia Whidden who helped establish the F.I.N.S. initiative and graduate student Gaitlyn Malone who has grown F.I.N.S. initiative by leaps and bounds. Of course, F.I.N.S. would not be possible without all the strong woman who have served as F.I.N.S. mentors and role models.

SRC In Focus

Today’s students are the scientists and conservationists of tomorrow, and we need our nation’s girls to be part of the next generation’s problem solvers.