PBS Show "SciGirls" Is One Of Many Ways To Try To Engage Young Girls in Science and Math.

This article was originally featured in NorthJersey.com.

SciGirls Taylor Fields, Akina Kuperus, Hunter Rodriguez and Jade Traiger pose with their underwater robot.

Myah Wolfer is an anomaly, scientifically speaking. The seventh- grader at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood loves math and science and hopes to one day pursue a related career. She somehow made it through that late elementary school vortex that sucks girls' interest away from those subjects.

Changing the demographics requires everybody to work together — schools, after-school programs and parents, who must put aside any fear or intimidation they feel about math and science to keep their children excited and interested.

Engineering for Kids is a company trying to break that cycle. Bergen County resident Kaye-Ann Grant runs the North Jersey franchise, which began this year serving pre-K to eighth-graders. She has a robotics class for third- to fifth- graders with 15 kids in it. Four are girls. They are interested, engaged — and outnumbered.

"I like answers," the 12-year-old says unapologetically. "I like solving problems."

Across the country, though, girls Wolfer's age are shying away from math and science for various reasons. They lack confidence in those subjects as compared to boys, according to a study done by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The result is that fewer women pursue college degrees in these subjects, and women hold a low percentage of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs. The numbers are particularly striking in engineering and computer and mathematical sciences, where women make up only 13 and 26 percent of the professionals respectively, according to the NSF.

PBS is trying to help engage young girls and show them the future possibilities. "SciGirls," which begins its second season on Sunday, is aimed at girls 8 to 13, charged with sparking interest in STEM. It has a companion website that could also stand on its own, as far as content and curriculum, and acts as a resource for kids, parents and teachers.

"The research does tell us that girls lose confidence at the end of their elementary school years," says Kathleen Shugrue, co-executive producer of the series. "It's truly our mission to push beyond that and encourage girls to look at the sciences as a potential career path and to expose girls to the kinds of careers that you never would have thought of as science, technology or engineering."

Each episode puts a group of girls together with a female mentor to complete a project or solve that week's problem. This season, girls will create a phone app, create a product that keeps elderly people from slipping on ice, build an aquabot and figure out the best workout using science and technology. They do it all with the guidance of real women who work in the appropriate field.

"Girls need that one step further," says Mike MacEwan of the Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative Project. "They need that role model to see there are people like them who do this work and who can do these things. 'SciGirls' kind of takes those hands-on activities and lets the girls see they can do it. That's an important step."