Sunlight poured into the create[space] inside Anderson Student Center on Monday, lighting up the excitement on the faces of three high school girls. Across the table, Emily Meuer ’18 smiled and talked about the coding behind St. Thomas’ Code and Chords, the Playful Learning Lab project that creates dynamic visuals out of music.

Next to Meuer, a translator converted her words into sign language so the three students – all pupils of Metro Deaf School – could understand. All of this – and everything else over eight total days – was being filmed: “SciGirls,” the long-standing PBS KIDS TV series, is doing an episode for its 2019 season on the Code and Chords project and its empowering of young girls, focusing on the three high school students’ summer journey of learning with Meuer as a mentor.

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Emily Meuer ’18 participates in a Twin Cities PBS (TPT) filming of a “SciGirls” episode in the create[space] in the Anderson Student Center on July 23, 2018, in St. Paul.

“That’s really our goal: empowering these girls,” said Angie Prindle, producer for “SciGirls.” “And they’re serving as role models for millions of other girls watching. They’re learning from people like AnnMarie, Emily, this whole team.”

The collaboration comes out of a partnership with engineering professor AnnMarie Thomas, who was a mentor on the “SciGirls” pilot episode in 2009. Thomas and Prindle have stayed in touch in the years since, and, as the “SciGirls” team found out more about Code and Chords, it seemed like a perfect fit for an episode.

“What an amazing school [in Metro Deaf School] and what a great opportunity to partner with them and show the power of technology to connect people, and embrace this storytelling in a more inclusive way,” Prindle said.

“SciGirls” is entering its fifth season and is funded by the National Science Foundation. The Code and Chords episode is slated to air in September 2019.

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