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Grants Awarded for Girls in Science + Technology

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Three Rhode Island organizations have received $1,000 mini-grants from The Southern New England Girls Collaborative Project (SNEGCP), a newly established affiliate of the National Girls Collaborative Project serving Rhode Island and Massachusetts. The grants support programs that engage girls in the STEM (Science, Technology, Education, Mathematics) fields.

Grants were awarded based on their original idea, level of collaboration with other girl-serving organizations, and their alignment with the SNEGCP’ s mission of leveraging resources, information, and funding to increase the outreach and impact of STEM-related opportunities for girls. In total, the six awarded projects are estimated to reach a total of 250-300 female middle school and high school girls in 2012.

"These grants are an important catalyst for creating local ecosystems that can support girls to claim their rightful place in science, technology and engineering,” said Connie Chow, Massachusetts Lead for the SNEGCP. “We are thrilled to be able to support collaborative partners in a wide geographic region."

The three RI-based organizations receiving grants are:

Tech Collective – STEM Expo for Middle School Girls. Collaborating Partner: University of Rhode Island SMILE program. Modeled after Tech Collective’s GRRL Tech event, this new pilot will bring together middle school girls to participate in STEM related, hands-on activities that will be presented by volunteers from the URI SMILE program and successful women from business and industry.

New England Institute of Technology – Taking Flight with Science and Math. Collaborating Partner: College Crusade of Rhode Island. Exposing 20-25 underserved middle school girls to various fields of study, role models, and activity based events, this initiative will offer participants an increased understanding of and confidence in succeeding in scientific and mathematical endeavors.

Sophia Academy – Women of a Certain Age. Collaborating Partner: Tech Collective. Using video to create a connection via shared experiences as young women, Sophia students will create a documentary of interviews with female Sophia Academy founders. Students will explore the technical aspects of camera videography and computer programming as well as develop soft skills of writing, planning, and speaking.

Three grants in MA

Three organization in Massachusetts also received grants: Association for Women in Science (AWIS), Mass Chapter – School Vacation Week Science Workshop for Girls. Collaborating Partner: Science Club for Girls. With female scientists and industry volunteers as mentors, middle school girls will learn about green science through hands-on experiments and related on-site field trips to industry companies. JR. TECH – Sci-Tech Girl Expo. Collaborating Partner: Girls Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts. Focused on high school girls who have expressed a strong interest in pursuing higher education in STEM, female STEM professionals and educators will offer exploratory workshops and insight into their relevant fields and the career pathways that brought them there. Northern Essex Community College – Viva Apps. Collaborating Partner: Salem State University Upward Bound Program. Exploring the development of computer applications through industry speakers, onsite tours, and role playing projects, high school girls will learn the technical and entrepreneurial aspects of technology while developing their confidence and communication, teamwork, and business skills.

Huge opportunity for girls in STEM careers

The August 2011 Women in STEM: A Gender Gap to Innovation report released by the US Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration, states: “Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.”

In higher education and career transition, the report shows that not only are there significantly less women graduating with STEM undergraduate degrees, but also, of those who do, only 26 percent of them are actually working in a STEM field. In contrast, of the many more men who graduate with STEM undergraduate degrees, 40 percent of them go on to work in their designated STEM field.

Jo Ann Johnson, Rhode Island Lead for the SNEGCP, responded: “There are many factors contributing to the STEM gender gap – stereotypes, family life, lack of awareness – but the fact is that we have a responsibility to interest, engage, and encourage our young girls to explore and pursue careers in STEM. The Southern New England Girls Collaborative Project is pleased and excited to help address that need with the announcement of its 2011-2012 mini-grant recipients. We are looking forward to the collaborative programs and to having a positive and passionate STEM impact on many Rhode Island and Massachusetts middle and high school girls.”


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