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Afterschool in Action: STEM Programs Engage Girls With Projects and Female Role Models

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Afterschool in Action: STEM Programs Engage Girls With Projects and Female Role Models

The “Afterschool in Action” blog series is dedicated to highlighting cutting-edge afterschool and summer programs that embrace digital learning and STEM exploration. If you know a program doing great work in these areas, let us know! Contact rsankar@afterschoolalliance.org to recommend a program to be featured.

In honor of Women’s History Month, this week we are highlighting afterschool programs that are working hard to get young girls excited and engaged in STEM. While women are making great strides in education and the workforce, they are still lagging far behind men in STEM fields. Females make up only 11 percent of engineers in the workforce. The following programs are hoping to bridge the divide by exposing young girls to female STEM role models as well as all the creative ways they can engage in STEM learning.

  Photo courtesy of West End Middle School Art2STEM Program

Art2STEM- Located in Nashville, TN, Art2STEM hopes to promote STEM through the lens of art to attract more girls into STEM-focused high school academies in Nashville, TN. Through activities like creating animations and architectural design, the programming focuses on creativity and showing how the arts complement STEM fields. As part of Alignment Nashville’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant from NSF, the afterschool program exposes girls to various STEM topics through these hands-on activities as well as field trips to local tech businesses.

  Photo courtesy of Dell

GirlStart - Located in Austin, TX, GirlStart offers afterschool programs, summer camps and various outreach events throughout the year in Central Texas to encourage and inspire girls to consider science as an option and equipping them with STEM skills. GirlStart received NSF funding to create Project IT Girl—highlighted in our report on outcomes and impacts of STEM learning in afterschool—which exposes high school girls to computer programming and provides them with experience working with a local tech company. Girls are also connected with female STEM professionals during the Girls in STEM Conference for 4th-8th graders where they learn about STEM careers.

SciTech – Started by the Ruben H. Fleet Center in San Diego, CA, SciTech participants work on projects throughout the school year that focus on their problem solving skills. The afterschool program is offered at eight elementary schools, a middle school and a high school. Girls work on projects in subjects ranging from renewable energy sources to food chemistry. Students also participate in The Tech Challenge, sponsored by the Tech Museum in San Jose, CA.  Local female STEM professionals also  come and do presentations and interact with students to serve as role models.

These three programs are doing a great job of providing girls with engaging, real-world experiences as well as exposing them to female role models in order to excite them about the possibilities of STEM in their lives today and in the future. Providing girls with meaningful, positive experiences in STEM will help bridge the gap in the STEM workforce and open them up to more possibilities in the future. Afterschool programs provide a safe environment in which students can explore, experiment and make the mistakes that will create the problem solvers of tomorrow. 

To learn about girl focused STEM program in your area, check out your regional chapter of the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP). NGCP works to leverage the strength in numbers by connecting girl serving organizations working to advance STEM education and providing them with resources and tools. 

February resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Welcome to the February installment of STEM resources from the Million Girls Moonshot. This month, Million Girls Moonshot resources are focused on diverse role models and mentors as a strategy to strengthen equity and inclusion in STEM programs. You’ll find podcasts, toolkits, and activity...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/22/21

What does a new president and Congress mean for afterschool STEM?

President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, marking the beginning of a four-year term with the pandemic still front and center in the eyes of policymakers and the general public. The first steps for President Biden and Congress have been aimed at getting a handle on the pandemic, which...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/16/21

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Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

From the STEM field: An innovative model to deliver STEM learning to under-served youth during the COVID-19 era

By Stephen White, Vice President of External Affairs, Strategic Initiatives, and Business Development and Allie Greiwe, Director of External Affairs at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, OH. This blog is a continuation of our series of case studies examining how informal STEM...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/10/20

Out-of-school STEM during a pandemic: An interview with leaders from FIRST, Learn Fresh, and Girlstart

By Gemma Lenowitz, associate program officer for Inspired Minds at the Overdeck Family Foundation. This article was originally published on the Overdeck Family Foundation's website on November 30, 2020. It is reposted here with the author's permission. Erica Fessia is vice president of...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/01/20

How STEM learning is adapting in COVID-19

This blog post comes to us Rachael Van Schoik, Science Action Club Manager at the California Academy of Sciences. Over the coming months we’ll be highlighting how STEM programs have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue serving students with STEM activities, and what lessons we can...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/26/20

Launch of Million Girls Moonshot boosts STEM learning for girls across the country

After a long-anticipated countdown, the Million Girls Moonshot officially launched on September 16. Established by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Intel Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the effort will engage one million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/18/20

Free STEM learning opportunity: Facebook's Engineer for the Week!

We are excited to invite you to join Engineer for the Week's Fall 2020 Sprint! It runs from October 5 to December 4, 2020. Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/14/20

New Education Innovation and Research competition prioritizes STEM and computer science in latest call for proposals

On July 29, The United States Department of Education released the call for proposals for the FY2020 round of early and mid-phase EIR grants. The EIR competition provides funding to “create, develop, implement, replicate, or take to scale entrepreneurial, evidence-based, field-initiated...

BY: Chris Neitzey      08/11/20

New report shows severe loss of capacity for outdoor and environmental science education

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders have stressed the opportunity for families to get outside and learn more about their natural surroundings. The opportunities to observe migratory patterns of birds, grow fruits and vegetables at home or in community gardens, and simply learn more about the...

BY: Chris Neitzey      06/12/20

February resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Welcome to the February installment of STEM resources from the Million Girls Moonshot. This month, Million Girls Moonshot resources are focused on diverse role models and mentors as a strategy to strengthen equity and inclusion in STEM programs. You’ll find podcasts, toolkits, and activity...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/22/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

Out-of-school STEM during a pandemic: An interview with leaders from FIRST, Learn Fresh, and Girlstart

By Gemma Lenowitz, associate program officer for Inspired Minds at the Overdeck Family Foundation. This article was originally published on the Overdeck Family Foundation's website on November 30, 2020. It is reposted here with the author's permission. Erica Fessia is vice president of...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/01/20

Launch of Million Girls Moonshot boosts STEM learning for girls across the country

After a long-anticipated countdown, the Million Girls Moonshot officially launched on September 16. Established by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Intel Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the effort will engage one million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/18/20

Structuring for scale-up success: Adaptive program model

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the fourth in a four-blog series: read the previous blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Organizational structure for sustainability & scales, or head to the first...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/16/20

Structuring for scale-up success: Organizational structure for sustainability & scale

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the third in a four-blog series: read the first blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs, and the second blog,...

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By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the second in a four-blog series: read the first blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs. During the last...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/12/19

Structuring for scale-up success: Techbridge Girls shares lessons from its 5-year scale-up of STEM programs

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the first in a four-blog series: read the second blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Partnerships first. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that STEM jobs are...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/06/19

Promoting access to computer science for girls

Earlier this month, CBS’s 60 Minutes highlighted the work of Code.org in expanding access to computer science opportunities for girls. The 60 Minutes piece drew public attention to the growing number of tech-related jobs across the country and the lack of women currently filling these...

BY: Leah Silverberg      03/26/19

February resources from Million Girls Moonshot

Welcome to the February installment of STEM resources from the Million Girls Moonshot. This month, Million Girls Moonshot resources are focused on diverse role models and mentors as a strategy to strengthen equity and inclusion in STEM programs. You’ll find podcasts, toolkits, and activity...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/22/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

Out-of-school STEM during a pandemic: An interview with leaders from FIRST, Learn Fresh, and Girlstart

By Gemma Lenowitz, associate program officer for Inspired Minds at the Overdeck Family Foundation. This article was originally published on the Overdeck Family Foundation's website on November 30, 2020. It is reposted here with the author's permission. Erica Fessia is vice president of...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/01/20

Launch of Million Girls Moonshot boosts STEM learning for girls across the country

After a long-anticipated countdown, the Million Girls Moonshot officially launched on September 16. Established by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund in partnership with the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Intel Foundation, and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the effort will engage one million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/18/20

Free STEM learning opportunity: Facebook's Engineer for the Week!

We are excited to invite you to join Engineer for the Week's Fall 2020 Sprint! It runs from October 5 to December 4, 2020. Are you an afterschool practitioner looking for high-quality, cost-free curriculum to help your students develop computer science skills and explore engineering? Do...

BY: Leah Silverberg      09/14/20

Structuring for scale-up success: Adaptive program model

By Meeta Sharma-Holt, vice president of programs and strategic partnerships at Techbridge Girls. This is the fourth in a four-blog series: read the previous blog, Structuring for scale-up success: Organizational structure for sustainability & scales, or head to the first...

BY: Guest Blogger      01/16/20

What does a new president and Congress mean for afterschool STEM?

President Joe Biden was sworn into office on January 20, marking the beginning of a four-year term with the pandemic still front and center in the eyes of policymakers and the general public. The first steps for President Biden and Congress have been aimed at getting a handle on the pandemic, which...

BY: Chris Neitzey      02/16/21

STEM resources to support engineering mindsets from Million Girls Moonshot

Every month we’ll be publishing a list of resources and activities for afterschool programs to better engage students in STEM. These monthly posts are developed with resources shared from our partners at the Million Girls Moonshot. If you are interested in becoming involved in the Million...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/17/20

From the STEM field: An innovative model to deliver STEM learning to under-served youth during the COVID-19 era

By Stephen White, Vice President of External Affairs, Strategic Initiatives, and Business Development and Allie Greiwe, Director of External Affairs at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, OH. This blog is a continuation of our series of case studies examining how informal STEM...

BY: Guest Blogger      12/10/20

How STEM learning is adapting in COVID-19

This blog post comes to us Rachael Van Schoik, Science Action Club Manager at the California Academy of Sciences. Over the coming months we’ll be highlighting how STEM programs have adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic to continue serving students with STEM activities, and what lessons we can...

BY: Guest Blogger      10/26/20

New report shows severe loss of capacity for outdoor and environmental science education

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BY: Chris Neitzey      06/12/20

Bringing STEM learning home during social distancing

These are difficult times for so many of our young people and their families. With school closures impacting families across the country, and extracurricular activities put on hold, finding ways for students to stay busy and engaged is likely at the top of mind for parents and guardians....

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/19/20