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Professors from St. Kate's star in SciGirls TV episodes

The SciGirls: Nayelli, Sarah, Makenna and Sarah
The SciGirls: Nayelli, Sarah, Makenna and Sarah
Photo courtesy of tpt.

The prowess St. Kate’s brings to science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM) will be featured on the big screen in October, as two professors star in the PBS series SciGirls.

St. Catherine University faculty Christena Cleveland, Ph.D., and Yvonne Ng, the interim director of the National Center for STEM Elementary Education, will appear in episodes on “Multitasking Mania” and “Pedal Power,” as the series that seeks to engage girls ages 9-13 in STEM airs its second season.

The show, which is shot in the style of reality TV, will focus on a unique line-up of STEM subjects, exposing viewers to an underwater robotic adventure, urban beekeeping and earthquake monitoring, to name a few. The SciGirls will also use real forensic methods to solve a faux crime and discover engineering through the construction of an ice-cream-making bike.

While Ng will guide the girls through the experience of engineering bike-powered energy in “Pedal Power,” Cleveland will answer questions the girls have around social media and multitasking, leading them to conduct their own research into current trends. In both episodes, the girls will rely on expertise in the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math to problem-solve and think critically.

On top of 10 new half-hour episodes of the television series, Season Two of SciGirls will include inspirational STEM videos and games that can be accessed on digital platforms. Each episode will introduce interactive online games, activities and other content, inviting young girls to continue exploring the world of STEM after each episode ends.

“Texting, social networking, smart phones, gaming—digital technologies are more than just diversions to kids. They are educational tools as common to our viewers as pencils and notebooks were to their parents,” says Executive Producer Richard Hudson. “SciGirls's second season marries the onscreen adventures of our remarkable SciGirls to the power of the web, to ignite girls’ curiosity and change the way they think about STEM.”

The series premieres its second season in October 2012 on PBS stations nationwide. Check local listings or watch the series online at

SciGirls is produced for PBS by tpt National Productions and is made possible by the National Science Foundation. Additional funding is provided by L’Oreal USA’a For Girls in Science program and PPG Industries Foundation.

National Productions is the national production division of Twin Cities Public Television, the PBS affiliate for Minneapolis/St. Paul. tpt National Productions’ quality, creativity and innovation have earned both popular and critical acclaim, garnering more than 300 awards for artistic and technical achievement. tpt National Productions' websites also have been honored with Parents’ Choice and PBS Web awards, and its outreach resources have been lauded and utilized by educators, community leaders and parents nationwide.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports education and research across all fields of science and engineering. The NSF supports many science programs on PBS in addition to SciGirls, including Cyberchase, Fetch!, Design Squad, and NOVA ScienceNow.

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Oct. 5, 2012 by Melissa Kaelin

See also: Faculty, Liberal Arts, STEM