Orleans, MA.—Atlantic White Shark Conservancy (AWSC) announced today that it is launching “The Gills Club," its signature action project dedicated to connecting girls with female marine biologists, sharing knowledge, and empowering them to take leadership positions and inspire others with their passion for sharks. 

"I've been inspired by the girls I've met at our events throughout the year, " said Cynthia Wigren, Atlantic White Shark Conservancy founder. "It's clear that girls of all ages are enthusiastic about sharks. I want to foster their excitement and connect them with top female shark scientists in the field. This new group will provide girls with strong role models and empower them to become stewards of our oceans."

The Gills Club will harness girls’ passion for science, nature and the environment by giving them the opportunity to engage in projects focused on making a significant impact on the way sharks are perceived by the public. With the motto “Smart about Sharks” The Gills Club members will receive monthly newsletters, participate in online discussions with researchers, and be provided with tools to educate their peers about sharks. In addition to being a vehicle that will foster positive attitudes towards sharks, AWSC wants this group to  jump-start girls’ interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects, boosting their chances of entering careers in science.  

Atlantic White Shark Conservancy partnered with Heather Marshall, UMass Dartmouth PhD Candidate, on this shark education initiative. Heather worked with Dr. Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries on the last three OCEARCH white shark research expeditions.  

"I'm eager to work with Atlantic White Shark Conservancy on this exciting new initiative," said Marshall. "We hope to provide a forum for young and older girls to share their enthusiasm about sharks and create an open discussion between these girls and established female shark scientists."

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