News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 31, 2014
GSA student raising money for semester ‘abroad’
Freeport school focuses on science and leadership

Maya Jacques, future science leader

Maya Jacques of Surry, Maine is trying to raise thousands of dollars to help pay her tuition for a fall 2014 semester at Coastal Studies for Girls, a science and leadership semester-long program located in Freeport.

Photo courtesy of Maya Jacques

by Anne Berleant

Maya Jacques of Surry, an entering sophomore at George Stevens Academy, is one of 15 girls nationwide accepted this fall at the Coastal Studies for Girls located in Freeport. Founded in 2005, the 16-week residential program teaches “the skills, attitudes and processes of scientific thinking and methodology [and] exposes students to a wide range of scientists and science career opportunities,” according to its website,

But, at a cost of $19,000, the price of such an education is not cheap, and Jacques is asking her community for help. Coastal Studies for Girls’ guiding mission is to “inspire girls and women to create joyful lives, vibrant communities, and a more connected world.” It is open to girls who, like Jacques, are entering 10th grade.

For Jacques, who plans to attend medical school, “it’s going to be a relief to be with 14 other people who are eager to learn” in the same way she is, and to have the opportunity to focus on a different kind of science, marine biology, and learn about the environment and people of her home state. “I think it will be amazing,” she said, comparing it to a semester abroad without having to hop on a plane.

Coastal Studies for Girls has awarded Jacques a $6,500 scholarship, and she has raised about $2,000 so far. Jacques said it is unclear whether the town of Surry will contribute the same tuition it does for her to attend George Stevens Academy. (Coastal Studies for Girls does not appear on the 2013-14 list of private schools approved for the receipt of public funds on the Maine Department of Education website.)

“The school is not just for the benefit of myself but for all the people I will influence in my lifetime,” she wrote in a press release. “I am reaching out to our community to help support me in reaching my goal…I am beyond grateful for this opportunity and for all the help I had so far.”

For more information or to donate to Jacques’ tuition, see