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Sergey Tokarev: She is Science raises $40,000 for covering education of Ukrainian girls

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The educational project She is Science organized a fundraiser on June 10 in Kyiv. In addition to awarding 12 young ladies who made it to the final of the contest of essays about outstanding female scientists, the event coordinators organized a fundraiser auction. Due to the active involvement of the guests of the benefit event, the contest finalists received funds to cover their education. Sergey Tokarev, one of the coordinators of the educational program, founder of the venture studio PAWA and the technology company Roosh Tech, dole out news to reporters about how much money was raised during the auction, what is the goal of the project and whether we will see a follow-up.

The educational art project She is Science started in February 2021 due to the initiative of the charitable organization STEM is FEM. The first project achievement was a series of 12 portraits of famous female scientists of Ukraine. They depict such modern scientists as Maryna Viazovska, known for her achievements in the field of mathematics, and ornithologist Natalia Atamas. The collection also includes portraits of historical figures such as Kateryna Yushchenko, who became famous in the field of programming, and Olha Perevozchikova, who worked in the field of physics. The series was created by five well-known Ukrainian illustrators, such as Anna Sarvira, Jenya Polosina, Anna Ivanenko, Sergiy Maidukov, and Olga Degtyareva.

According to Sergey Tokarev, the project initiators paid special attention to the visualization of their idea. As usual, people pay more attention to images than to any other content. And this is precisely the goal of the project—to convey to as many people as possible how women in science contribute to its development and what their achievements are.

The second stage of the educational program was an essay contest. The participants aged 14 to 21 described in their writings each of the heroines depicted in the illustrations. Girls had to write a composition about one of the scientists. At the same time, the sketch had to include not only the biography scientific achievements of the chosen person, but also describe the participants’ own perception of their contribution and explain why this or that heroine became an example to follow.

According to Tokarev, the project organizers have received 561 essays, and some of them were sent by contestants from other countries. He expressed the hope that the girls, whose works could not make it to the final, would not be very upset, but would continue to improve both their writing talent and achievements in the sciences they have dedicated their works to.

The grand finale of the charity event was the awarding of 12 finalists and the main winner of the competition. Anastasia Suvorova from Kyiv won the Grand Prix. She wrote an essay on Natalia Atamas’ achievements in ornithology. The contest initiators awarded the young lady a grant of $35,900 to study at any educational institution in the world. This amount includes $4,000 guaranteed by the project organizers, as well as $31,900 raised during the sale of portraits from the series She is Science at the auction. Each of the originals was personally signed by the authors.

Sergey Tokarev noted that in addition to the main lots, various items provided by the project partners were also sold at the fundraiser auction: jewelry, outfits from popular brands, as well as brunches with the owners of famous restaurants. A special surprise of the event was the lots from the guests of the evening that were not initially announced. For instance, investment banker Igor Mazepa put up for auction a helicopter ride over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. As a result, the total amount of $43,600 was raised. This money is to cover educational expenses not only of the Grand Prix winner, but also of several other contest finalists.

In addition, as part of the event, a panel discussion was held, in which the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, took part. According to her, the country should develop an inclusive society, as well as popularize gender equality. Olena Zelenska also acknowledged the efforts of the young activists and wished them to stay strong in the pursuit of their goals, so that the word “star” in society was used not only regarding show business figures or athletes but also regarding “famous and popular stars of science”.

Also, diplomats from France, Denmark and Sweden, representatives of the UN and NATO were invited to the gala evening.

Sergey Tokarev expressed hope that this was not the only initiative of the project She is Science. Apparently, the organizers are planning to hold exhibitions in different cities of Ukraine. An exposition of 12 portraits and 12 essays can already be visited in Kyiv in the creative coworking Kooperativ. It will work until June 24. In the future, the exhibition will be moved to Kryvyi Rih, Mariupol, and Zaporizhzhia.

And after a while, any educational institution in Ukraine will be able to order a copy of the exposition.

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