STEM Club for Young Women, a partnership between Information Technology Empowerment Center and the Michigan Council for Women in Technology, begins operations in Lansing.
Women make up just 11 percent of engineering employees, according to the National Council for Research on Women. And only 4.1 percent of girls asked about their career expectations plan to go into a STEM career.
A group of Lansing women is trying to change that.
2020 Girls seeks to combat the perception that STEM subjects are inherently for males
The Women’s Leadership Council of the Capital Area United Way recently awarded $26,000 Women’s Initiative Grant to the new partnership between Information Technology Empowerment Center and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology in support of their innovative “girls only” STEM program called 2020 Girls.
ITEC has conducted youth classes in the Lansing area since 2008, including several courses geared towards girls. In this partnership with MCWT, 2020 Girls will more explicitly focus on girls in the organizations’ collective efforts to address inequalities in STEM education and careers.
“2020 Girls seek to combat the perception that STEM subjects are inherently for males or somehow off-limits to women and girls,” says Kirk Riley, ITEC’s Executive Director. “We’re introducing them to instructors with whom they can identify and activities that capture their imagination.”
The program aims to send these young women on a trajectory towards success in college and careers, in 2020 and beyond
A two-year student achievement grant, 2020 Girls can expect an additional award of $26,000 pending a successful outcomes report. Building girls’ affinity for STEM directly contributes to the CAUW’s goal to help students stay in school and succeed and the Women’s Leadership Council’s efforts to mobilize the power of women in their communities.
“We’re thrilled with the potential of this project and its potential to make a positive impact on the lives of Greater Lansing girls,” says Joan Bauer, Chair of the CAUW Women’s Leadership Council.
Approximately 100 students will participate in programming, engineering and design activities led by female instructors. They will also take field trips to local sites where STEM is a part of daily operations and build relationships with mentors.
“The program aims to send these young women on a trajectory towards success in college and careers, in 2020 and beyond,” says Maria Jasinski, MCWT board member and VP of Information Technology at Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. “We’re so grateful and honored by the United Way’s generous support.”
Grant Award to Fund STEM Education for At-Risk Girls via Capital City Gains
Interview with ITEC Executive Director Kirk Riley about 2020 Girls via Michigan Big Show
ITEC and MCWT are hosting the “2020 Girls” clubs at Mt. Hope Elementary School, Pleasant View Magnet School, and Eastern High School, with tentative plans to convene clubs over Summer 2014 at the Foster Center. Approximately 100 students will join camps to do the following:
- Participate in programming, engineering, and design activities led by female instructors
- Take field trips to local sites where STEM is a part of daily operations
- Build relationships with mentors from ITEC. MCWT, and the Lansing community
- Cultivate girls’ interest and proficiency in STEM
- Combat the perception that these subjects are inherently for males, or off-limits
- Help girls develop concrete skills that will serve them well in school and future careers
- LEGO Robotics: Students collaborate and compete to produce robots capable of complex tasks like object retrieval and obstacle course navigation. In addition to programming and engineering basics, students practice teamwork and problem-solving. 2020 Girls club teams may enter Robofest competitions held by Lawrence Tech University in locations throughout Michigan.
- The Science & Art of Game Design: Introduces young programmers to the guiding principles of game design by allowing them to play and design their own games. Students experience how art, logic, and storytelling converge as they learn to code imaginary spaces into virtual reality.
- Scratch: Offers an introduction to a high-level yet accessible programming language. Taught by volunteer instructors from MCWT.
- App Design: Students engage with one of the fastest-growing skills in tech by learning what goes into the creation of an app: coding, design, marketing, and entrepreneurship.
- Field Trips: Clubs will make field trips to sites relevant to students’ STEM learning. Trips will demonstrate practical applications of STEM concepts and expose girls to potential STEM careers.
- Mentorship: ITEC instructors, MCWT members, and volunteers will engage with small groups within each club over the course of the year, providing insight, guidance, and support.