You Go Girls! Young Women Sweep Top Spots In Google Science Fair

Don't tell Shree Bose girls aren't good at science.

The 17-year-old from Fort Worth, Tx., just won the grand prize and $50,000 in the first-ever Google Science Fair with her research on how cisplatin, a chemotherapy drug used in the treatment of ovarian cancer, can be more effective when taken with a cellular energy protein known as AMPK, or adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase, later on in treatment instead of at the beginning.

And Bose wasn't the only girl atop Google's podium July 11. In fact, girls won all three top spots in the competition.

"Personally I think that's amazing, because throughout my entire life, I've heard science is a field where men go into," Bose, an incoming high school senior, told The New York Times. "It just starts to show you that women are stepping up in science, and I'm excited that I was able to represent maybe just a little bit of that."

The other winners included Naomi Shah of Portland, Ore., who won the age 15 to 16 category with a study of the effects of air quality on lungs, and Lauren Hodge of Dallastown, Pa., who took the prize in the age 13 to 14 category for research on whether marinades decrease the amount of cancer-causing compounds in grilled meats.

"At the end, we were like, 'Yeah, girl power!'" Shah said.

Google was pleased as well. "This is just a reminder that women are fully capable of doing same or better quality work than men can," Vint Cerf, a Google honcho and one of the judges to the Times.

Yet despite the girls' showing, it may be a while before we see a sea of grown women in lab coats. That's because even though girls start out being just as interested in science as boys, that level of enthusiasm drops off as early as second grade, according to the National Science Foundation.

As time goes on, women with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math are twice as likely to leave a scientific or engineering job as men with comparable degrees, the government agency finds.

Hopefully those figures will improve, spurred on by the success of these three amazing young girls, and the women already in the field who prove that not only are science careers far from being a boys-only club, women are more than capable of succeeding in one, too.

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