February 11, 2020

Notre Dame students talk science on the 2020 International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Notre Dame sophomores Nicole Carson, left, and Marisa Ricci discuss science and possible careers in science.

Today is the annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To help celebrate, we've asked a couple of Notre Dame students a few questions about their affinity for STEM studies and the sciences, and why studying science is important for them and for fellow female students.

Nicole Carson is a sophomore at Notre Dame Prep. She enjoys running cross country and spending time outside and likes hanging out with friends as well as playing lacrosse and basketball. Marisa Ricci also is a sophomore at Notre Dame Prep. She enjoys playing soccer, reading and eating candy. When she isn’t doing homework, she loves to play euchre and board games (especially Settlers of Catan).

When did you first discover your passion for science?

Carson: I first discovered my passion for science in freshman-year biology. Prior to my freshman year, I found myself going through the motions of science class without really knowing what I was doing. However, in freshman year it was different. Science began to click for me and it always seemed like there was a purpose for me to learn it. Moreover, the different experiments helped me to understand what I was doing and encouraged me to learn more.

Ricci: I don’t remember being super passionate about science until seventh grade. Before, I didn’t think there was much more to science than the food chain or ecosystems. My seventh-grade class focused on genetics and biology and I absolutely loved the class. I realized that science was not only about the large-scale interactions in nature, but also the interactions that took place at a cellular level. Everything from cells to elephants has a vital role to play in ways we both can and can’t see (without a microscope at least :). Since then my passion for science has only grown and I found my freshman biology class so interesting that it served to drive me into considering more science-based fields.

What career aspirations do you have in a science field?

Ricci: I want to be a neurosurgeon. I find the brain so fascinating and the challenge it poses to operate on it excites me. The brain is very complex and we don’t even completely understand it yet. Operating on and repairing the brain is precise work and requires a lot of attention to detail, which is good for me because I’m a perfectionist and will definitely notice if one little thing is out of place. I could talk all day about how amazing I find the brain, but I’m going to stop now before these few sentences turn into a few paragraphs. 

Why do you think it is important for girls to have access to science courses?

Carson: I think it's important for girls to have access to science courses so they can recognize if science is for them. From there, they can go on to pursue it if they find they have a passion for it. Additionally, it opens up new doors for career selection and helps students to be well-rounded. 

What advice do you have for girls considering a career in the sciences?

Carson: For girls considering a career in the sciences, I recommend persevering when courses get tough, instead of giving up. It is important to have a good work ethic and to have determination. With this mindset, success and a passion for science can be found. 

Ricci: My advice to girls considering a career in the sciences is to get involved. There is a ton of options in science fields and it can be overwhelming to decide what you do and don’t like. Participating in programs, job shadowing, and volunteering are really good ways to narrow down your options based on what you enjoy. One of the ways I figured out that I was passionate about medicine was a program called the Perry Outreach Program that I participated in at Henry Ford Hospital. I absolutely loved it and it really confirmed my interest in medicine.

Comments or questions?

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three school are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at

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