On June 19, 2013, Dr. Judy Brown, PI for the Girls RISEnet project, participated on a panel during a lunch briefing in Washington D.C., hosted by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The event was sponsored by the American Chemical Society, Congress and Girl Scouts of the USA. During the briefing, Anna Maria Chávez, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA, Carol Amos, Manager, Field Engineering Program, DuPont, Cassandra Alexander, Gold Award recipient, Girl Scouts of Alaska Council and Dr. Brown spoke about best practices in out-of-school settings to engage and energize girls into STEM interests, with a particular focus on the K-12 age group.
A workforce trained in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) drives innovation and a strong economy. While young people possess a natural excitement for problem solving and an interest in STEM, young women represent a minority of STEM workers. The panel, moderated by Madeleine Jacobs, Executive Director, American Chemical Society, discussed options to foster youths’—particularly girls’—curiosity and build a future STEM workforce that reflects the national population and delivers prosperity to all U.S. Communities.
National Women in Science & Technology Month
June is National Women in Science and Technology Month! To help you prepare, in this newsletter you'll find many engaging and interactive activities you can use with girls as they explore science and technology. But let's not forget, May 17th is Endangered Species Day and June 8th is World Oceans Day.
Get youth involved with protecting endangered species by having them produce fun and informative public service announcements! Learn how to make your own paper from recycled materials to encourage habitat protection. And don't forget to check out the activities provided by StopExtinction.org to assist you as your plan your Endangered Species Day events.
Explore the oceans while going from STEM to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics) with Gyotaku fish printing! Gyotaku is an ancient Japanese art form used by fishermen to record their catch for the day before there were cameras; it's a great way to bring art into your program while discovering all that the ocean has to offer.
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The Mountain Office of The Science House of North Carolina State University and BioNetwork partnered this spring to offer STEM experiences to the students of western North Carolina. First was the Expanding Your Horizons Career Conference funded by the Girls RISEnet mini-grant and second was the visit by the STEM Bus sponsored by BioNetwork, a program of the NC Community College System.
Sixty-five 7th grade girls from western North Carolina participated in the conference which exposed girls to STEM careers with the purpose of encouraging them to pursue a STEM career. Girls were engaged in science and engineering practices as they attended conference type sessions all led by local women working in STEM fields. The girls were biotechnicians as they extracted DNA from their own cheek cells; they were soil scientists as they studied soil profiles and soil quality; they were pharmaceutical scientists as they determined the right medication to treat a disease outbreak; and lastly they were chefs, nutritionists, organic farmers, and restaurateurs as they prepared their own lunch. It was a STEM day to remember but words of a participant say it all: “The workshops were GREAT! I loved meeting everyone and seeing some weird things. It was too cool carrying DNA around my neck.” Sounds like the goal of exposure and encouragement was not lost on this participant!
The EYH event was followed by a visit from the BioNetwork STEM Bus, a 40 ft. mobile science center designed to engage and inspire students to pursue a STEM pathway. The STEM bus provided science and engineering experiences for over 275 students from a local high school through activities, games, equipment, media and information related to STEM careers. Students rotating through in groups were engaged and intrigued by the STEM opportunities that are literally at their doorsteps. One student said, “I did not know that the claw game at Wal-Mart could ever help me find my path into a STEM career.” Robotics, engineering, and more…this student is now inspired to not only continue to master the game but he is now inspired to explore the STEM practices behind it.
The Connecticut Science Center, with the support of a local family foundation, the Petit Family Foundation, has kicked off a new multi-year initiative, Celebrating Women in Science. Building on the important work that we have done as the New England hub of the Girls RISEnet project, we are promoting an institution-wide focus on the importance of including women and girls in the sciences
We envision steadily infusing many aspects our work with sensitivity to the unique challenge of encouraging girls to pursue their interests in science. The Women in Science program has a dedicated page on our website: http://ctsciencecenter.org/wis/. On this page, we will share upcoming Science Center events, a collection of links and useful resources, and finally a special section that gives our (predominantly female) Staff Scientist team an opportunity to share activities, experiences, and perspectives with the public.
Earth Day and Mathematics Awareness Month
April is Mathematics Awareness Month, with the year's theme focused on the "Mathematics of Sustainability." As we wrap up the month of April, participate in activities focused on Earth Day on April 22nd and Endangered Species Day on May 17th.
Get youth involved with the International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge, hosted by Stanford University April 29th - May 10th. Encourage your students to get outside, explore and document their observations. The National Wildlife Federation has links to the Young Reporters Handbooks, with several activities on writing, photographing, and videotaping any and all exciting findings, transforming any child into a scientist!
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