My parents, who are from Kolkata, India, named me Shree — for the goddess of wealth. We'll see! My first interest was learning English, but my older brother, Pinaki, got me hooked on science. He tried explaining atoms to me when I was 6 years old. I didn't have a clue what he was talking about, but he was so excited! I watched him enter science fairs and decided I wanted to do the same thing.
In second grade I entered the science fair world at the Invention Convention. My teacher told us to come up with an idea that no one had thought of. I didn't like green vegetables, so I thought I would dye one blue to make it more attractive to kids. I injected a spinach plant with food coloring. Unfortunately, that didn't go so well. I came to school with a withered and horrible looking plant. I remember the other kids snickering. I think I got a passing grade for effort. But I still had fun.
In fifth grade, I decided to create a remote-controlled garbage can because I hated taking out the trash and thought it would be useful for handicapped people. I took the top off a remote-controlled car and fitted a garbage can on the wheels. It was the coolest thing I'd ever done! I still have the car, and I won the science fair.
It never occurred to me that girls didn't 'do' science. My schools never participated in science fairs so I did the research and prepared the entries myself. Everyone made a big deal about football and athletics with pep rallies. But when someone won a science competition, there would be a short PA announcement that no one paid attention to.
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Eighteen-year-old Shree Bose embodies the promise of Title IX — a law which keeps doors open for young women to pursue the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering and math. Shree is working as an intern in a laboratory at the National Institutes of Health pursuing liver cancer research, and will then begin her freshman year at Harvard University. Nobel judges, take note.