STEM Superheroes: The Dark World Ultimate Mentor Adventure Winners

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Natalie Portman, who is reprising her role as astrophysicist Jane Foster in the upcoming Thor: The Dark World blockbuster film, has been using her personal passion for science to encourage young women to seek careers in the STEM fields.

Back in early October, Portman partnered with Marvel Comics to launch The Dark World Ultimate Mentor Adventure, a nationwide contest aimed at empowering girls in grades 9-12 to “embark on a journey to discover their potential and future in the world of STEM.” The big prize? A trip to Los Angeles, CA to a screening of Thor: The Dark World at the El Capitan theater on opening day (November 8th), where the winning videos will run as part of a documentary short before the film.

“The truth is that I really do love science. And the role gave me an amazing opportunity to explore science in all its possibilities,” Portman has explained.

In order to enter the contest, girls had to go out into the real world and ask successful women in STEM about what they do, how they got to where they are, and how others can follow in their footsteps.

To be eligible for the big prize, entrants submitted an unedited, five minute video in which they talk about their love of science, their experience interviewing their mentor, and what steps they might take to embark on a STEM career. The process was “designed to help students to understand why learning from mentors can impact their futures”.

A panel of judges from Underwriters Laboratories and the National Academy of Sciences selected 10 winners out of the hundreds of entries received from across the country.

Meet the Winners Video

Thor girls

  • Abigail Clark, 15 , 10th grade – The Seven Hills School, Cincinnati, OH
  • Andrea Polis, 18, 12th grade – Wayzata High School, Plymouth, MN
  • Anoushka Bose,15, 10th grade – Francis Parker, San Diego, CA
  • Ashley Smith,15, 10th grade – Hunterdon Central Regional High School, NJ
  • Aurora Hake, 14, 9th grade – Annie Wright School, Lakewood, WA
  • Dina Benayad-Cherif, 17, 12th grade – Lexington High School, Lexington, MA
  • Jerrica Li, 15, 10th grade – Longmeadow High School, Longmeadow, MA
  • Jordan Taylor, 16, 11th grade – home school, Fairview, TN
  • Rachel Whitman, 17, 12th grade – Cherokee High School, Canton, GA
  • Sydney Guillory, 17, 12th grade – Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Chicago, IL

To see these extraordinary young women, check out this great video.