Tuesday, September 9, 2014

12 Organizations for Women in STEM

Time and time again we are reminded about the lack of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) professions.  Even though women hold around half of all jobs in the United States, they still only occupy less than a quarter of all STEM jobs.

How can we fix this?

In order to see a significant change in STEM, we must look towards the future.  The young women and girls of today will be the leaders and groundbreakers of tomorrow. 

Numerous organizations have been developed to encourage young woman to pursue careers in STEM.  These organizations pave the way for girls to be an integral part of the next generation of tech workers.

If you are seeking fresh ideas on how to close the STEM gender gap, or are looking to get involved in a new and exciting organization, here is a list of 12 organizations that are making a difference:

            The NGCP brings together organizations throughout the US that are committed to informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.  It includes 31 networks of professionals and researchers, covering 39 states, which allows collaboration between 12,800 organizations, serving 8.35 million girls.

            The Icebox Derby is a build-it-race-it competition, requiring 30 female participants to build racecars out of recycled refrigerators.  The refrigerators, provided by ComEd, a refrigerator recycling company, will be transformed into vehicles required to complete five laps around a track at speeds up to 15 mph.  The Icebox Derby is a Chicago-based competition, and is meant to get young woman involved in engineering.  ComEd is partnered by organizations such as the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana, and the Chicago Urban League.

            Funded by AT&T and the National Science Foundation, respectively, these programs offer girls from low income and underserved communities the chance to experience STEM and plan for futures in STEM fields.

4) L’Oreal’s Forgirlsinscience.org

            L’Oreal’s new web site aims to connect girls who love science and give them the chance to learn about women in STEM fields.  It includes resources such as a list of summer science camps for girls and the opportunity for STEM-enthusiasts to blog about their experiences.

            Based in Austin, Texas, Girlstart provides year-round STEM education programs for girls in grades K-12.  The organization offers after-school programs, summer camps, and an annual Girls in STEM conference.

            The AAUW provides STEM education to more than 11,000 girls each year.  Its national STEM camps and conferences target middle-school aged girls because they believe that time in a girls life is vital to maintaining their interest in STEM.  Their goal is to encourage young girls to begin taking courses that will lead to a future in STEM.

            These two organizations are working together in hopes to engage one million STEM mentors to increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women to pursue and succeed in STEM degrees and careers.

            The Science Club for Girls has been connecting girls in grades K-12 with female-mentor scientists since 1994.  Over 1,000 girls participate annually in SCFG programs.  The programs operate throughout five cities in eastern Massachusetts, including Cambridge, Lawrence, Boston, Newton, and Fitchburg.  The Science Club for Girls focuses on subjects like chemistry, engineering, archaeology, environmental science, and physics.

            This organization is “dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.”  They actively encourage girls to ask questions and solve problems while interacting with women and men in STEM.

            After receiving funding from the Clinton Global Initiative, the NCWIT will now be able to test their AspireIT initiative.  Volunteer high school or college women will run the program.  These women will lead designing and computer programs for younger girls.  The overall motive for the AspireIT initiative is to have these young women become role models and develop leadership skills while encouraging younger girls to pursue computing.

            Black Girls Code is dedicated to growing the amount of colored women in the STEM world by working with girls aged seven to seventeen.  The organization’s website states they hope these girls can become “innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.”

            Women@NASA went above and beyond by creating a virtual mentoring program that offers online mentoring to middle-school students across the country.  A NASA employee instructs these students over Skype or Google Chat.  The NASA employees range in professions such as engineers, accountants, scientists, and astronauts. 

These 12 organizations are taking giant steps towards a more unified STEM future.  Only time will tell if their efforts will come to fruition.

There are numerous organizations besides the 12 listed above that are paving the way for women in STEM.  We highly encourage you to become involved and take some time to read about their values and goals.


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