Archives:

Select:

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

READ FULL STORY

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

By Jothi Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of ThinkSTEAM.

“33 boys. Zero girls.”

Four words. That’s all it took to transform my 13 year old perspective on society. I was talking with my brother over dinner when he iterated this gender ratio in his undergraduate C++ coding class. I was beyond shocked. Those words were all the motivation I needed to spark a STEM revolution in my own community. That’s why I founded ThinkSTEAM is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit aiming to bridge the gender gap in STEM fields. This year for Women’s History Month, I am excited to share my journey to becoming a youth leader supporting girls in STEM fields.

Until that dinner, I was surrounded by a bubble in which I was able to believe that all girls were encouraged and had opportunities to build a passion for STEM. These four words stabbed a needle into my bubble, exposing me to the harsh reality of the gender gap in STEM. Many girls are discouraged from entering STEM and are not exposed to its benefits, because of the stereotype that STEM is only for men. I had to change this.

Not only do STEM careers represent some of the fastest growing fields out there, but they are also some of the most lucrative. When I was seven years old my father passed away, and I feared that my life would take a 360-degree turn. Witnessing my mom bravely overcome this obstacle and single-handedly raise my brother and I using her graduate degree in engineering made me realize that everything will be okay. I realized that STEM isn’t just a group of work fields, but it also represents the ability for everyone — women included — to support themselves no matter what happens in life.

But a simple dinner conversation almost three years ago changed everything, and inspired me to effect the gender gap in STEM learning. “33 boys. Zero girls.”

had to foster an interest among girls for STEM, somehow. Many girls already love the arts and creativity, so what if I teach girls about STEM by integrating the arts, something they already love? After all, I first became interested in computer science was because I loved how I can create colorful websites with simple HTML code. I had to encourage girls not to think STEM, but to instead think STEAM. Thus, ThinkSTEAM was born.

I founded ThinkSTEAM to bridge the gender gap in STEM, primarily through technology workshops for girls and connecting them to STEAM professionals from organizations like Facebook, Google, IBM, PepsiCo, etc. ThinkSTEAM has reached more than 600 girls in eight states, through 36 workshops, teaching activities including programming hats to light up colors, coding in several languages, and challenging girls to use code to create a platform raising awareness of a social issue of their choice. Many of our girls are not often exposed to STEAM, but are so inspired to continue experimenting with STEAM after attending our workshops that they return to our next events! The feeling I get from sparking such an interest for STEM in girls is beyond words.

I don’t just want American girls to engage in STEM, but hope to inspire girls internationally. The third annual ThinkBIG Challenge does this through a global contest, which tasks girls ages 8-14 to create a video on why we should bridge the gender gap in STEM. This year, Challenge Winners are honored with amazing prizes, including iPad Pros and media recognition.

My mom has been my role model for my entire life and has always encouraged me to follow my passion, especially when it comes to ThinkSTEAM. Not only that, but she inspires me to be a role model to other young girls who desire to enter STEM. We need to come together and pave the path for the next generation of females to catalyze breakthroughs in STEM. For Women’s History Month and every month that follows, let’s all do our part and empower our sisters and daughters to be the female STEM leaders of tomorrow.

To learn more about ThinkSTEAM, visit them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and check out the Instagram.

Jothi is a mentee in the Three Dot Dash program, a global initiative of We Are Family Foundation. Three Dot Dash selects 30 teen change-makers out of hundreds of applications/nominations from around the world — founders of nonprofits, inventors of innovative technology, and more. In addition to their drive and ambition, these young people also share a mission of making a positive impact on our planet. Three Dot Dash brings these teens to NYC for a weeklong summit to amplify their work, complete with workshops led by established professionals, peace-building sessions, a day receiving invaluable media training from Ketchum PR, and more.

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

STEM learning in the president’s FY2020 budget proposal

It’s often said that a budget is a statement of priorities and last week a majority of President Trump’s priorities were laid out through his FY2020 budget proposal. Due to the partial government shutdown earlier this year, it was a full week before all of the details, specifically...

BY: Chris Neitzey      03/25/19

Free STEM resources for afterschool programs from Science Buddies

By Amy Cowen, online community manager at Science Buddies. Science Buddies, a non-profit organization providing free K-12 STEM education resources, strives to build STEM literacy by delivering fun and engaging STEM activities to all students, whether it is in school, out of school, or at home....

BY: Guest Blogger      03/08/19

National Leap Into Science Week celebrates science & literacy learning in OST

The week of February 25 to March 3, 2019 is National Leap Into Science Week, the annual celebration of Leap Into Science, a national program with a mission to integrate open-ended science activities with children’s books and literacy efforts in libraries, museums, and out-of-school time...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      02/22/19

Participate in new research on STEAM in out-of-school time

Are you an out-of-school time educator? The Innovation Collaborative is conducting a national study that will help outline effective practices for sciences, technology, engineering, arts/humanities, and math (STEAM). The first national study of its kind, your participation could help determine what...

BY: Leah Silverberg      02/21/19

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a free seven-week experience for 10th- and 11th-grade girls interested in gaining exposure to coding and jobs in technology. Program participants will use computer science to create art, tell stories, make video games, program robots, build...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Get the latest afterschool STEM news in your inbox

The next issue of the Afterschool Lab Report is coming this January. Brought to you each quarter by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the newsletter provides the latest STEM education policy updates, new resources, upcoming opportunities for advocacy, and new research...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/24/19

Investments in quality afterschool STEM policy will continue in 2019

For successful advocacy efforts, slow and steady wins the race. Advancing legislation or budget requests at the state or federal level requires resources, content expertise, and a dedication that often spans a timeframe far longer than originally anticipated. As we enter the third year of a...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/18/18

What does the Trump administration’s 5-Year STEM Education Strategy mean for afterschool?

NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine On December 4, the White House released their five-year STEM education plan, entitled Charting a Course for Success: America’s Strategy for STEM Education. The plan is a required component of the America COMPETES Act of 2010, which mandates that the...

BY: Chris Neitzey      12/07/18

Guest blog: Bridging the equity gap via virtual inspiration

By Shelbie E. Wolfe, AmeriCorps STEM Ecosystems VISTA. For the past 7 years, the Afterschool Alliance has been a proud sponsor organization for national AmeriCorps VISTA projects, supporting State Afterschool Networks and STEM Ecosystems to increase the access to and quality of enrichment...

BY: Guest Blogger      11/27/18

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a free seven-week experience for 10th- and 11th-grade girls interested in gaining exposure to coding and jobs in technology. Program participants will use computer science to create art, tell stories, make video games, program robots, build...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Education Innovation and Research grant provides opportunities for student apprenticeships

Eighteen new grantees were recently awarded Education Innovation and Research (EIR) grants from the Department of Education. Developed under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), EIR grants, which are inspired by the Investing in...

BY: Leah Silverberg      11/05/18

Renewed commitments to computer science at CSforAll Summit

On October 8, computer science (CS) educators and advocates descended on Detroit, Michigan for the 2018 CSforALL Summit. As part of this year’s summit, a special one-day working session, entitled Mo’ Time for CS Education, was held to bring practitioners, advocates, researchers, and...

BY: Chris Neitzey      10/29/18

New California “Kids Code” program to expand computer coding in afterschool

The Kids Code Pilot Program, which passed the California Legislature earlier this year and was championed by Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, will provide $15 million in funding over three years to expand access to coding in afterschool programs across the state. The pilot program will allow existing...

BY: Chris Neitzey      09/21/18

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

What the FY19 budget request does, and doesn’t do, for STEM learning

On February 12, the White House released its FY19 budget request. As expected, it reiterated much of the FY18 request, including deep cuts to and elimination of many discretionary programs. This year’s request was made more confusing due to the congressional budget deal reached just days...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      02/22/18

Stay informed about STEM with the Afterschool STEM Hub newsletter

Brought to you by the Afterschool STEM Hub, a project of the Afterschool Alliance, the Afterschool Lab Report is dedicated to continuously providing advocates with the tools they need to make the case for out-of-school time STEM learning. The Afterschool Lab Report is sent each quarter,...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/22/18

Wrapping up the 2017 CS Ed Week

Computer Science Education Week (CS Ed Week) 2017 was an exciting time for the Afterschool Alliance and the CS education community at large. The Afterschool Alliance shared key resources for afterschool computer science throughout the week, including: “Connecting to computer science: A...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      12/15/17

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

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

Applications open for free summer immersion program from Girls Who Code

The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a free seven-week experience for 10th- and 11th-grade girls interested in gaining exposure to coding and jobs in technology. Program participants will use computer science to create art, tell stories, make video games, program robots, build...

BY: Leah Silverberg      01/28/19

Start a Girls Who Code Club this fall!

Girls Who Code wants to work with you to provide your students with high-quality computer science resources! A national nonprofit organization, Girls Who Code is working to close the gender gap in computer science professions. The Girls Who Code afterschool curriculum is FREE to participating...

BY: Leah Silverberg      08/06/18

Guest blog: Inspiring New Mexico’s Youth STEMbassador program

By Julie Hernandez, STEM Afterschool Expansion VISTA for New Mexico. Science introduced me to a world of possibilities. I see scientists as modern day explorers, discovering worlds we’ve never seen and providing answers to questions we didn’t even know to ask. Science also...

BY: Guest Blogger      07/09/18

Guest blog: 33 boys. Zero girls.

By Jothi Ramaswamy, founder and CEO of ThinkSTEAM. “33 boys. Zero girls.” Four words. That’s all it took to transform my 13 year old perspective on society. I was talking with my brother over dinner when he iterated this gender ratio in his undergraduate C++ coding...

BY: Guest Blogger      03/29/18

Storytelling & mentoring can bring STEM's Hidden Figures into the spotlight

By Allyson Kennedy, a scientist, educator, and STEM advocate. Allyson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016 and is now working to broaden participation in computing education through an AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellowship at the National...

BY: Guest Blogger      02/26/18

Webinar recap: Tools, ideas, and strategies for creative computing in afterschool

Providing students with the tools and knowledge they need to become creators of technology, not just consumers, is a growing priority for afterschool programs across the country. Many are building from the ground up and running into issues like identifying technology, tools, and curricula to meet...

BY: Melissa Ballard      12/08/17

Promising practices: Hybrid tech/analog system grows STEM mentoring

During CS Ed Week, we wanted to highlight an initiative that pushes the envelope on excellence in computer science and STEM. Keshia Ashe, the co-founder and chief executiver officer of ManyMentors, sat down to talk about afterschool, STEM mentoring, and fostering the growth of underrepresented...

BY: Charlotte Steinecke      12/07/17

New commitments to equity, engagement at the CSforALL Summit

“Power is the ability to write and author the American story… and that requires ambition to be nurtured; it requires the administration of an infrastructure that can do this.” These words come from Dr. Kamau Bobb of Georgia Institute of Technology, explaining how institutes of...

BY: Stephanie Rodriguez      10/20/17