As a kid, I remember going to a summer workshop that was just for girls at a local university. We got to extract DNA from fruit flies and participated in a dissection at the vet school. It was very exciting, a little gross, and I felt lucky to have had such a unique experience.
I thought of this when I heard that girls had won the top prizes in the first Google Science Fair. It made me curious to know what you are doing to help girls develop a love of science. Is it through a favorite book, a hands-on activity, or simply encouraging their natural curiosities about the world around them?
If you are looking for some inspiration, Science NetLinks has a collection of resources for Women's History Month that focus on the diverse achievements and scientific work of women. This collection includes information on female scientists who have changed history, the diversity of the scientific community, and stories from young women who are working in a variety of STEM fields.
For another source of inspiration to spark the interest of girls in science, Education Week is hosting a Professional Development webinar, on July 26, 2011, entitled "Engaging Girls and Other Underrepresented Populations in STEM". Here's an excerpt from Education Week about the webinar:
In this webinar, you will learn about specific programs and strategies for engaging students—in particular those who are statistically less likely to pursue STEM careers—in science and related academic areas. You will discover, among other topics, how teachers can put concepts in context to help students see STEM's relevance to their daily lives.
There's a $49 registration fee for an unlimited number of attendees. The fee also allows for on demand access to the webinar for a period of time and some other "amenities". For more info go to: http://www.edweek.org/ew/marketplace/webinars/professional_development_webinars.html?r=1497183743.
I know this sounds like I'm doing a promo for Education Week but it looks like it could be a valuable resource particularly since there is a need for tools to make science and STEM related careers more accessible to girls and other underrepresented groups.
I just love the Science Cheerleaders.
These are NBA and NFL cheerleaders who just also happen to be scientists and engineers. At their website you can find links to their videos. (Yes, they do science cheers!)
Another really cool resource to support girls pursuing engineering is organized by the National Academy of Engineering ... Engineer Girl is here: http://engineergirl.org/
Kids Talk Radio Science is training girls to become student backpack science journalists. Girls get to study at Kids Talk Radio's Jr. Medical School. Students report enhanced STEM news in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, visual arts and foreign languages. Students are trained online and have additional summer opportunites to study in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Advanced gifted and talented students have opportunities to to join the International Cabo Verde Tenth Island Project STEM Teams.
Found this cool website, Under the Microscope-Where Women and Science Connect, that has a rich archive of resources and current events announcements.
From their "About Us" ...
Under the Microscope is the online component of the Women Writing Science project at The Feminist Press. Under the Microscope collects stories from women involved with science, technology, engineering, and math with the goal of publishing a survival guide for young women in science. Under the Microscope also publishes news, tips, interviews and profiles.
Under the Microscope is funded by the National Science Foundation and was developed by IBM.
Recent entries include:
Check it out!
FYI...this week's AAAS ScienceLive Chat may be of interest to this group.
It occurs August 25th at 3pm EDT and questions can be submitted today and a transcript of the chat will be available if you're reading this after the 25th.
For more science posts and discussions, visit and join the All About Science group.
Techbridge, a science-based after-school program based in Oakland, shows hundreds of female students a path to pursuing careers in science and technology, while also trying to minimize the chances of them dropping out of school.
Found this on PBS ... might be the basis for a local discussion about how to built a program.
Our school just invited some engineers over from Boeing to speak to the students, it was great for the girls to see a woman who is making her career in engineering! If you have companies like this near your schools, you could ask some professionals to visit and share their experiences. They talked about their education, career, company projects, and income level! They even gave the students an engineering challenge to do as part of the presentation. It was a great assembly!
Here's some news from the Science Cheerleaders. I love what these women do to encourage girls to love science.
Some news from the Washington DC front ....
Last week, a team of folks from AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship program participated in the 2012 District of Columbia Young Women's Conference on Non-Traditional Careers. The young women in this case were middle and high school students from the DC area. Just over 400 participated!
The model offered a couple of plenary talks, a series of concurrent "workshops" and a careers expo. We were pleased with how this event went ... you can read about it in this new release from AAAS.
One of the interesting highlights .. I came to this article string looking for resources to bring to the event. The Science Cheerleaders that Maria mentioned happened to be featuring a cheerleader for the Washington pro-football team ... who already has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a B.S. in Mathematics and is now working on a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Johns Hopkins. I had my doubts about this program ... so I brought along the announcement thinking I would see how the young women responded. They really liked the connection to the home team and the idea that one could be both a scientist and a cheerleader. I will use this one again!
Did you see this? This program offeres a rich source of "content" to initiate a seminar or group discussion.
PBS News Hour: Why Aren't There More Female Scientist, Engineers?
A recap of a live chat examines why women lag behind in some areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and what can be done to encourage more young women to pursue careers in STEM fields.
The original program is here:
It would be great if each one of us connected to a couple of teachers at the university level and did something similar. I had a girl and two boys on July 25th and I will have four girls tomorrow August 2nd. The biggest issue was the transportation during vacation time. I intend to continue this partnership and making it an annual event. I will try to do it before school ends. I will also continue to seek other possibilities to contact other universities. I am in a group of teachers that meet with elementary and high school science teachers to align the curriculum and help each other to work with each others requirements. The plan is to have a must have group of laboratories each year and keep building the concepts.
Here's a great story to share with students...
Ruchi Sanghvi was 23 years old when she became the first female engineer at Facebook. Definitely inspiring!
Learn more about her here.
I just read this article about the gender gap in the STEM area of education. It says that the USA has one of the larger gaps in the world! Why? The author thinks it is "Stereotype threat". Maybe helping girls to enjoy science would help reduce this "threat".
Have played around with this site - very cool.
A program of Girls, Math & Science Partnership [GMSP]–Click! engages girls, ages 10–14, to solve mysteries and complete covert missions using important science concepts as agents-in-training. The program utilizes relatable narratives and cutting-edge technology, while encouraging tactile-based inquiry and real-world problem solving skills. Teen girls get a rare opportunity to explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math through new media, hands-on experiments, and interactions with professional mentors from esteemed companies and universities.
The description of this site is below. It has a number of websites listed that can be used to encourage girls in science and technology.
The Girls, Math & Science Partnership (GMSP) was created to address issues regarding girls, their participation in science, and the expansion of their opportunities in and influence on the science and technology workforce. Working with girls ages 11-17, their teachers, parents, and mentors, GMSP draws organizations, stakeholders, and communities together in an effort to ensure that girls succeed in math and science. The partnership's mission is to engage, educate, and embrace girls as architects of change.