HOUSTON, TEXAS -- A Prairie View A&M University graduate wants to close the gap for girls and women of color in STEM.
Chemist Kristen Wells-Lewis created an educational kit aimed at exposing young black girls to science, technology, engineering and math and teaching them about STEM's unique impact on the cosmetics industry.
"I remember when I was struggling in organic chemistry and I had one professor tell me, all of the makeup that you wear, all of the product that you use, that's organic chemistry," said Wells-Lewis. "And that's the first time it was ignited inside of me that there are so many avenues of science in our every day life."
Her kit, called Black to the Lab, includes hands-on activities, complete with lab equipment like goggles and beakers. Each activity gives girls a look into what it takes to create their favorite beauty products, like lip gloss, body scrubs and lotion.
"Our STEM activity kit includes two cosmetic chemistry activities," said Wells-Lewis. "It also includes a lab book so that the kids can follow along, and then you have your instructions for each activity. And you have a game in between to help you practice your vocabulary. It really puts them in the mode of, 'I'm a scientist, I'm getting ready to create something.' And the idea that I can take these ingredients and compile them and I have a formula. And when it's all over, you will have two products that you created."
Wells-Lewis says the main goal of the kit is to encourage more girls to explore careers in the STEM field. For more information, visit blacktothelab.com.