On Girls' Day, Marike Skiba wants to get other girls interested in STEM

With her films, Marike Skiba wants to show others how exciting the world of animals is. Photo: Private

Student, film award winner and zdi heroine: Marike Skiba is in 10th grade at the Europagymnasium Kerpen – and is a very special role model: the 16-year-old won three film prizes last year with her biology videos and would like to pass on her enthusiasm for the natural sciences to others. A reason to have a quiet chat with her about MINT, zdi and snails.

Marike, tell me about the films you shot for the competitions.

It was pure coincidence that someone from the “Naturwissenschaften? RAFFFT! That was last year during the first lockdown. Films in which scientific phenomena are shown using time lapse could be submitted. I started straight away with a classmate and the shooting, editing and soundtrack was so much fun that three films were made in the end. We were incredibly happy that our film about Brazilian wood sorrel actually won.

And your dandelion film was able to convince the jury of the zdi.NRW Science Video Award.

Exactly. That was unbelievable. We kept editing the original films, adding or deleting scenes and perfecting them in our eyes. In the end we were able to win with the dandelion and finally with the "snail check" even at the national competition "My day is MINT".

Snails are pretty gross to some people. What fascinates you about them?

To be honest, I find pretty much all animals interesting – even those that don't excite everyone at first glance. Ever since I was a kid, I loved studying earthworms and isopods, and my favorite animal was a turkey. I find snails so fascinating because their "slowness" and their house hide a lot of what we tried to show in the film. I was interested in how the house grows, how they breathe, reproduce and move. Thanks to their slime layer, snails can even crawl over knife blades. That's pretty cool and impressive!

You definitely convey your enthusiasm and fascination well in the film. What excites you about STEM?

Versatility. There are many exciting things to discover. But only when you combine knowledge from different MINT areas can you get to the bottom of the phenomenon. Take the films, for example: they were about animals or plants, but also film technology, optics, software programs – and of course aesthetics and creativity. I think it's great to combine that. There are also many opportunities in zdi courses: once, for example, I built a longboard out of a piece of wood. Another course dealt with the practical implementation of genetic engineering procedures in connection with a criminal hunt.

Is there anything you would like to say to girls today on Girls' Day?

Always remember that no one can dictate what you think is good. If you like MINT, you are fascinated by science, you like to program or want to learn, if you like working technically - then do it. I hope that I can convey my enthusiasm with the videos and advise everyone to get involved with the STEM - Subjects to deal with. This is incredibly fun, because MINT can be found everywhere in everyday life and offers much more than what you might think at first glance.

Thanks for the interview and all the best!

If you want to immerse yourself in the MINT world, the zdi community platform is the right place for you. Exciting courses, exchange with like-minded people and much more are available here in the data-secure room.

Curious? Then on to STEM community NRW.

Impermanence fixed - the Brazilian sorrel (Oxalis debilis) during the course of the day. – YouTube

From dandelion to dandelion - a never ending story Winner video SVA 2020 category MINT@Home - YouTube

#MeinTagistMINT – snail check – YouTube

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