A next gen Ms.Frizzle aims to interest girls in STEM

Sophie Shrand, S/AMD’11, liked science as a kid, but didn’t have female scientists to look up to—except Ms. Frizzle, the red-haired, 4th-grade science teacher in The Magic School Bus animated TV series. Twenty years later, “we still don’t have enough real live female role models in STEM,” says Shrand.

So, after graduating from Northeastern with degrees in theater and behavioral neuroscience and working for a few years in science education at Boston’s Museum of Science, she decided to create a science-themed TV show for girls.

With money from a crowdfunding campaign, Shrand recently launched the first five episodes (Season 1) of her YouTube series Science with Sophie. Playing herself and a variety of quirky characters, Shrand reveals the science behind oddities in everyday life, such as how potholes form, why we shed tears, and whether we can digest bubble gum if we accidentally swallow it. Each episode includes a simple experiment that viewers can try at home. The videos have been featured on National Geographic Kids’ playlist of best new YouTube videos for kids.

“Kids are innately curious—they’re constantly questioning and absorbing information. We should nurture that curiosity,” Shrand says. The goal is to demonstrate “that science is an everyday experience—you can experience it on the street, or in your own kitchen.”