In the News

How one girl is proving that #BugsR4Girls

Each of us has a passion.

Some of us love to read dystopian novels. Others are obsessed with soccer. And some are super passionate about makeup. In 8-year-old Sophia Grace’s case, she loves learning everything there is to know about bugs. Unfortunately, though, Sophia’s peers don't understand her obsession, and used to get frequently bullied because of it.

This led her mom, who was struggling to reassure her daughter that her love of bugs was something to be celebrated, to reach out to the Entomological Society of Canada via Twitter. She hoped to find an expert in the field of entomology (the study of insects) that would be willing to talk with Sophia, providing her with support as well as evidence that if she continued on her current path, one day she too could pursue a career in the field.

Not only did the Entomological Society of Canada receive her request, but they tweeted it out to all of their followers with the hashtag #BugR4Girls. The note quickly went viral, receiving over one thousand replies and 130 direct messages with words of advice and encouragement to help raise Sophia’s spirits. Then Morgan Jackson, the entomology Ph.D. candidate who sent out the now infamous tweet, went above and beyond the call to action, collaborating with Sophia on a scientific paper highlighting the positive role Twitter can play in encouraging young girls’ STEM pursuits.

Much to the excitement of Sophia Grace the article, entitled “Engaging for a Good Cause: Sophia's Story and Why #BugsR4Girls,” was recently published in The Annals of the Entomological Society of America. In honor of the article's release, Jackson shared a photo of the pair collecting bugs together in a tweet.

According to NPR, not only did the experience of her mom’s plea going viral make Sophia feel as though she could embrace her love of bugs again, but it also positively impacted her classmates’ behavior, with some of them even requesting that she share some of her newly-found bug knowledge.

Have you ever been teased for your passions? How did you find the courage to continue to pursue what you love? Sound off in the comments!

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by Katherine Logan | 9/22/2017