Mikayla Sharrieff, India Skinner, and Bria Snell of Banneker High School had found a way to purify water contaminated with lead, and their experiment landed them among eight teams in the finals of NASA’s youth science competition. As the only Black girls to make it to the finals–and being the only all-female team to have made it that far in the contest–their social media campaign for votes immediately went viral. Their story even made the news, which got them even more supporters.
As we all know, in recent years there has been more of a push to encourage Black girls’ interest in STEM and this competition presented a chance for people to actively back young ladies in this field. The last time I viewed the voting website, the girls were well in the lead. They had outpaced their opponents by about 50 percent. That is until trolls on 4Chan decided to intervene.