STEMEd for Girls 2022: Our Second Summer Supporting Girls
In the summer of 2022, hundreds of high-school girls participated in the second iteration of AAUW’s STEMEd for Girls virtual workshop series. This program, which was supported by generous contributions from Arconic Foundation and Baxter International Foundation, is designed to inform and inspire girls in grades 9-12 who are interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. It also provides guidance for the girls’ parents and caregivers. We especially encourage girls of color to participate.
About the Program
Girls and caregivers participated in nine 1.5-hour virtual sessions over June, July and August that highlighted exciting opportunities in STEM. Each session introduced participants to amazing women in STEM, engaged students in hands-on activities, and helped guide girls toward career options that matched their skills and interests. The discussions and materials highlighted a variety of STEM subjects, including biology, chemistry, engineering, mathematics, physics and technology.
In the realm of mathematics, the girls used dimensional analysis to figure out how to maximize the number of people that could be housed in a community. For the chemistry session, participants learned about the materials and reactions used to build power-storage plants and design streetlights. During the technology session, participants explored how machine learning works. The STEMEd for Girls team also mailed participants “STEMLingo kits,” so they could explore how to design electronics and program what they created.
In the final two sessions, staff and other experts gave the girls tips and best practices to prepare for college. They also shared resources for financial aid and standardized testing, and they helped the girls to explore options on their journey to pursuing STEM fields.
Why it Matters
Research shows that girls are systematically tracked away from science and math throughout their education—which limits their training and career options as adults. Black and Latina girls are even more likely than white girls to be dissuaded from STEM due to racism and reduced access to critical resources, opportunities, and role models.
When it comes to setting girls up for STEM success, it’s critical to ensure they have support from their caregivers. That’s why AAUW engaged this group from the outset, focusing several sessions on providing guidance and resources for parents, guardians, family members, educators and counselors.
Throughout the 2022 program, STEMEd for Girls was marketed on AAUW’s social media platforms, generating almost 500K impressions. We reached thousands of girls and caregivers, including many people of color: 26.3% of registrants were Black/African American, 17.2% were South Asian, 14.2% were Latina, 9.8% were East Asian, 6.7% were multi-racial, 2.5% were Arab or Chaldean, and 1.4% were Native American or Pacific Islander. About a quarter of the girls (24.2%) were in 12th grade, and another quarter (25.1%) were in 11th grade.
Participants were joined by a total of 13 STEM “Ambassadors”—a diverse group of women scientists and educators who received AAUW Fellowships or Grants. These STEM leaders shared their insight, advice and experiences. The girls had lots of questions for them, and the discussions between participants and STEM Ambassadors remained a popular feature of the program.
In addition to the accessing resources and communities fostered by AAUW, participants also engaged in activities facilitated by a variety of STEM organizations.The girls particularly enjoyed learning about electronics and programming using the STEM Lingo kit.
AAUW’s STEM team is excited about growing our support of girls interested in STEM and their caregivers. We’ll share more guidance and information throughout the 2022-23 academic year. To learn more and get involved, visit our STEMEd for Girls Learning Management space and Discord server. Also be sure to follow AAUW on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for updates.
For the next iteration of STEMEd for Girls, we’re exploring holding more frequent workshops and in-person events. Stay tuned!