Marvel Studios STEM Challenge Winner: Ashley Qin

Last week, Marvel Studios selected the latest winner of their STEM-based internship program in conjunction with the theatrical release of Marvel’s Dr. Strange on 11/4. The theme of this most recent program was The Magic of STEM, challenging girls to explore science and technology that may have once been considered “magic.” The winner of the internship was 16-yr-old Ashley Qin, whose project revolved around wearable biosensors and how they can function as non-invasive glucose monitors.


This is the 4th challenge that Marvel Studios has put forth to elevate and celebrate inspirational young women who are interested in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), with each activity tailored to the themes of different Marvel films. Since 2013, thousands of girls across the country have taken part, submitting projects ranging from the creation of hybrid solar thermal collectors to a study of the origins of prosthetic limbs.

Earlier this year, Maia Dua took part in the Girls Reforming the Future Challenge on behalf of Marvel’s Captain America Civil War (now on Blu-ray & Digital HD). Her project was the creation of an affordable “seeing eye-bot,” which uses ultrasonics to “see” objects and help the visually impaired navigate their surroundings.


Maia shares her experience in this inspiring video, where she recounts her visit to the Siggraph 2016 Conference, spends time with the Disney Imagineers, and shadows Victoria Alonso, Executive Producer of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

MARVEL STUDIOS S.T.E.M. based programs for girls began in 2013 with MARVEL’S THOR THE DARK WORLD ULTIMATE MENTOR ADVENTURE. The ULTIMATE MENTOR ADVENTURE was supported by: Dolby Laboratories, Underwriters Laboratories, the Discovery Science Center, the Science and Entertainment Exchange, a program of National Academy of Sciences, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The ULTIMATE MENTOR ADVENTURE challenged high school age girls to go out into the real world and ask successful women in science, technology, engineering, or math related fields about what they do, how they got where they are today, and how to follow in their footsteps.

10 girls were selected, from over 300 applicants to travel to California for the premiere of MARVEL’s THOR THE DARK WORLD and to spend a week meeting incredible women working in all areas of STEM. The girls and a parent met with over 30 amazing women while getting behind the scenes experiences at Dolby Laboratories, Scarborough Farm, Silver Lake Farms, Underwriter’s Laboratories, Discovery Science Center, Wildlife Learning Center, Disneyland, the set of MARVEL’s Agents of Shield, and the Disney Studios.

In 2015 MARVEL STUDIOS presented the ANT-MAN MICRO-TECH CHALLENGE as their next program to promote STEM to young girls. The MICRO-TECH CHALLENGE was a nationwide competition challenging teenage girls to use readily available micro-technology components to design and build a DIY project that could inspire other young girls to develop an interest in STEM and STEM careers. The CHALLENGE was supported by: Dolby Laboratories, Visa Signature, and Raspberry Pi.

The CHALLENGE winners came to California to attend the premiere of ANT-MAN and to participate in a specially designed technology workshop predominately presented by female designers, engineers, artists, and managers from across The Walt Disney Company. The winners returned to their communities and lead workshops for local girls, sharing their experiences and teaching the next generation of girls to build their projects.

MARVEL STUDIOS CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR GIRLS REFORMING THE FUTURE CHALLENGE was the most recent challenge. This CHALLENGE, supported by Dolby Laboratories, Broadcom Masters, and the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of National Academy of Sciences, sought to inspire young girls to create positive world change for their generation and beyond through science and technology. The challenge invited girls nationwide, ages 15 – 18 to submit innovative STEM-based projects that had the potential to change the world. Each applicant was asked to submit a short video demonstrating her project and explaining how her science and technology-based project could make the world a better place. Over 1000 girls applied and five finalists were selected to come to California and present their projects to a panel of experts. One exceptional young woman, Maia Dua, was selected to receive a one-week internship with Marvel Studios.

All five finalists had the opportunity to inspire other young girls around the world by participating in a LIVE global Broadcom Masters webinar during which the girls discussed how their STEM skills enabled them to create their projects and become a finalist of the Captain American Civil War: Girls Reforming the Future Challenge. The webinar gave girls everywhere a peak into STEM skills in action outside the lab and the classroom.

In September 2016, Marvel launched the newest Challenge…Marvel, Dolby Laboratories, & Synchrony Financial sought out inquisitive female superheroes to find the secrets of science once thought to be magic for a chance to win a trip to the world premiere of Marvel Studio’s DOCTOR STRANGE and an opportunity to be mentored by members of the Walt Disney Company’s digital team.

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