Intuitive Innovation Grant Yields “Women in STEAM” Student Podcast

by: Laina Bennett Coburn, Director of Philanthropic Giving
The Intuitive Foundation was created in 2018 with the aim of reducing the global burden of disease and suffering through philanthropy, research and education aimed at better outcomes for patients everywhere. They do this through a combination of research grants, philanthropic giving, and volunteers serving in their local communities worldwide.

The Intuitive Foundation provided Shorecrest Preparatory School with a grant this year intended for a St. Pete STEAMfest Innovation Sponsorship. As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the annual STEAMfest event — an outdoor festival drawing 1000+ guests to the Shorecrest campus — was postponed in an effort to preserve the health and safety of our community.

Dr. Anna Baralt, Director of Educational Technology, and Roderick Avery Fludd, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, worked together to come up with a creative project that aligned with the mission of the Foundation and met the original criteria of the grant: providing women and other underrepresented communities with more opportunities to promote health, advance education and/or reduce human suffering. The expertise of dedicated members of the Girls STEAM Club was channeled into a student-produced podcast series focused on diversity and women in STEM-related fields.

Aspen Slavick-Gierlach '22 (host) and Shania Dandy-Tull '21 (producer) are leading an all-female team of students to bring the podcast to life. Shannon Ross ‘21 created the graphics and Julia Legakis ‘21 produced the original intro and outro music. It is Aspen’s and Shania's hope to mentor underclassmen throughout the process so that the podcast can continue for years to come. 

Check out the first 2 episodes of the podcast, “Women in STEAM: Perspectives from the Field” here or on Apple Podcasts. The premiere episode highlighted Shorecrest's Director of Medical Sciences, Lisa Peck. Episode 3 will be released soon.

About the student leaders:
Shania Dandy-Tull ‘21 has been a member of the Upper School Robotics Team for the past three years and was disappointed when robotics competitions were canceled due to the pandemic during her senior year. She has been pursuing her passion for computer science since she became a student at Shorecrest. Shania is producing the podcast as a way to learn and develop new skills in audio mixing and editing. She has eagerly gained leadership experience in her role as the producer and aims to mentor younger students interested in STEAM on production of the podcast.

Aspen Slavick-Gierlach ‘22 has been a member of the Upper School Girls STEAM Club for three years. As a club member, she has worked directly with Dr. Anna Baralt, Director of Educational Technology, and Lisa Peck, Director of Medical Sciences, on monthly activities and lessons. Aspen has also volunteered as a mentor and activity leader for the Middle School Girls STEAM Club. She hopes the podcast provides an intersection of her passion for STEAM and international studies. As a student participating in the Global Scholars Initiative (GSI), Aspen has been studying the work of women in medicine in third-world countries.

A big thanks to Tech Support Specialist Eric Johnson for his technical assistance with “Women in STEAM.” 

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.