Supporting Girls and STEM at Austin Children's Museum

With support from a Girls RISEnet mini-grant, Austin Children’s Museum convened two “Girls and STEM” trainings on January 22 and January 29, which were attended by 19 teenage girls and 9 teenage girls respectively. The trainings were offered by Emily Weerts, ACM’s Technology Education Coordinator, Prinda Wanakule with a PHD in Biomedical Engineering, and Jenny Trawick, Museum Career Ladder Coordinator. Trainings were designed to encourage girls to pursue STEM careers, included an overview and background on women in STEM, tips and strategies for how to engage girls in STEM, and practice for facilitating hands-on STEM activities.


Attendees who received the training then went on to deliver activities at the University of Texas Cockrell Engineering School’s “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day” which was attended by over 2,800 families. Teenagers who participated in the trainings will use this knowledge to encourage STEM and Engineering activities during ACM’s planned girls-only “Engineer IT!” summer camp and Young Scientists half day camp (which is currently full).


One of the Museum Career Ladder Trainees who attended the training shared her reaction: 

 “I was extremely surprised by the statistics. I knew that girls weren't as involved in STEM subjects as boys, but I had no idea that the gender gap was that huge- and that it's so often overlooked, that we're so used to male-dominated careers that we don't even question it. I was incredibly surprised by the Google image experiment, when we typed in certain careers and paid attention to how many more male representatives there were than women. It disappointed me a lot and made me really determined to help engage girls in STEM. I will pay attention to the way girls are participating and make sure to talk to them about it, invite them to help, ask them questions, etc. Girls are often left out of the STEM activities and I will definitely be trying to gear more of the science and math activities to girls to get them interested- and I will show them my passion for the subjects as well.” 

Another participant shared with project staff that she signed up for AP Biology and Biotechnology at school. She said that before getting involved in the Museum Career Ladder and attending the Girls in STEM training, she wouldn’t have considered taking these classes.  Now she’s inspired to learn more about science and become a STEM role model to museum visitors!



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Privacy Policy | The Girls RISE (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) National Museum Network is funded by Grant No. HRD-0937245 from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Human Resource Development, Research on Gender in Science and Engineering Extension Services (GSE/EXT) Program. Project collaborators include the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science, the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) and SECME, Inc. The project seeks to increase the capacity of science centers and museums to interest girls from underrepresented populations in the engineering sciences