Taking Up Space program provides fantastic opportunities for girls, encouraging their passion for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). This program, in turn, sponsors trips to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Museum at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. An Arizona woman is persistent in helping Native American girls pursue careers in STEM. Moreover, Czarina Salido is the founder of a special outreach called Taking Up Space.
Low Stats for Native American Women in STEM
“STEM engineering jobs are less than one percent for the amount of Native American women involved,” Salido said. “Knowing your experiment is up in space, can you imagine that being a nine or 10-year-old girl,” Salido asked.
In fact, her desire and wish is to now give back to her ancestry. It is driving by even more dire statistics.
“Native Americans have the highest dropout rate. They have the highest suicide rate, and women have the highest murder rate. So, doing something towards helping Native American culture, in general, is extremely important for all of us to look at and to help,” Salido said.
Taking Up Space Inspiration
As a young Latina and Native American who was given the opportunity to go to Space Camp, that is where Salido came up with her passion project. Moreover, Salido said Taking Up Space was not easy to get started.
“We would have alot of girls signing up, we, in fact, thought once we went into a tribe. Yet, it wasn’t the case. Moreover, it took awhile to gain that trust with their parents. That is because you have your kid go with a stranger basically across the U.S. to Space Camp,” Salido said.
Taking Up Space is Drawing More Young Girls Over Time
Back in 2017, Salido launched the program. Just two girls have attended Space Camp since then.
With more trust, the program is having a decidedly more impact on the students. In fact, seven more registered to attend this year.
“Next year, our oldest girl is going to finally to high school. Moreover, she has maintained her grades throughout junior high. As a result of Space Camp, there was a time she slipping up in math. Next, she asked for tutoring. I don’t believe this would have happened if she had experienced Space Camp,” Salido said.
The Taking Up Space relies on individual donations. To attend Space Camp, it costs about $1,000 per student to attend Space Camp. Learn more and donate here