March 26, 2012
Seeing successful women in STEM helps to inspire and motivate young girls, especially when they can relate to these role models on a personal level. This approach to helping girls progress along the path to a career in STEM comprised the core message of the "Picture Yourself a Scientist: Strategies for Growth" workshop, held on March 26, 2012 at the Connecticut Science Center. A dynamic presentation of "Why Role Models Matter" was delivered by Techbridge Assistant Director, Jen Joyce, and Program Coordinator, Roshni Kasad. It provided practitioners with both professional and practical tools for implementing Role Model and Mentors programs in their respective institutions.
An inspiring keynote address delivered by SECME, Inc., Interim Executive Director, Michele Williams reminded participants of the ability of gears of different sciences to work together to maximize speed and effort. Her words resonated among the diverse group of participants representing over 30 organizations varying in size and capacity. Ms. Williams went on to introduce students, Madison Liquori and Melissa Tobar from the University of Hartford and Breanne Muratori from the University of Connecticut. Each young woman shared some of her own STEM experiences and collectively led the group through a basic lesson on Nanotechnology.
A spirited presentation on Science, Equity and Afterschool programming led by the Education Equity Center's, Senior and Associate STEM Program Managers, Maryann Stimmer and Ben Dworken, stressed the importance of cultivating a STEM identity as essential to a future in STEM. Their presentation was followed by an eye opening and often hilarious exercise of examining the gender based messages contained in birthday cards for boys and girls. The exercise reinforced the need for practitioners to be mindful of how our gender biases can surface in our dealings with those we serve. After a substantial day, many participants welcomed the opportunity to stay and explore the 10 exhibit galleries of the 154,000 square foot Connecticut Science Center at their leisure.
March 16, 2012
For three years, beginning in 2010, women's clothing retailer Eileen Fisher will fund programs that activate leadership qualities in women and girls. The initiative is particularly interested in programs that bring about self-discovery and personal transformation; help women and/or girls find their inner strength and trust their intuition; and address any phase of a woman's and/or girl's life. In 2012, the grant program will review applications from nonprofit organizations along the theme of Leading for Impact.
Grants of $5,000 or more will be awarded, including grants for general support and seed funding for grassroots organizations.
Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to organizations that show an innovative, holistic, effective, and direct approach to activating leadership among women and/or girls; form partnerships with other community organizations for deeper impact; demonstrate the long-term sustainability and viability of the organization; show a clear need for the funds and a plan for their use; demonstrate a long-term commitment to their work; establish resonance with the Eileen Fisher company mission and leadership practices; and are located near Eileen Fisher offices, retail stores, or showrooms, or outside the United States (via U.S. -based charities only).
Visit the Eileen Fisher Web site for complete grant program guidelines, the eligibility quiz, and the online application.
Advocating Leadership Grant Program for Women and Girls
March 6, 2012
On Saturday, February 18th nearly 250 young engineers and their families put their engineering skills to the test in the Academy's Pauline Tusher Classroom as part of a week-long, nationwide initiative to help celebrate National Engineers Week. The event was organized and led by Roberta Brett, Senior Science Content Specialist and Eileen Harrington, Naturalistic Center Manager, both from the Public Engagement and Education Division, and who represent the Academy in Girls RISEnet.
Museum visitors could chose to design and construct an aluminum foil boat and see how many shells it could hold before sinking (the record for the day was 162), or fold a paper glider to learn about lift, thrust, drag, and weight - the fundamental forces of flight that aeronautical engineers must keep in mind when they design airplanes or space shuttles. Others took on the challenge of constructing a 3-story building using marshmallows and coffee stirrers that could withstand a simulated earthquake. With the help of Careers in Science high school interns Lorren Dangerfield, Reina Ota, Leon Wang, Cyrah Tetrault, Lillie Crosby and Joseph Wong, who in the process learned about engineering design themselves, visitors build marshmallow skyscrapers and then tested their structural integrity. If buildings failed, sticky fingers prevailed and more coffee stick cross-beams and braces or another marshmallow or two were added to improve their design.
Another big hit with the crowd was Toshiro Chiang, of the Audio Visual and Electronics Engineering department, who demonstrated the use of transistors, resistors, and capacitors as the essential components of electrical engineering in the robotics he builds. He also talked about how he applied his knowledge of engineering in designing the interactive digital label iPad interfaces for the new exhibit "Animal Attraction". Eyes opened wide when he said he could remotely control all of the AC exhibits at the Academy right from his laptop! At the end of the day, our "young engineers" discovered that engineers are creative problem solvers who devise new ways of doing things more efficiently, and in the process, began to see the engineer in themselves.
January 28, 2012
In Conjunction with the mini-grant awarded by Girls RISEnet, the Museum of Discovery with the direction of Auntaria Davis, M. Ed hosted two workshops (January 28th and February 24th) entitled: Girls Exploring Engineering (GEE).
The workshop invited 100 low-income, minority, middle and high school aged girls with the intent to expose these underrepresented in the engineering field and expose introduce related fields in STEM. The Girls:
- Used Snap Circuit kits to gain a better understanding of electronic circuits.
- Experimented with different circuits to create table-top exhibits, including a FM radio frequency.
- Investigated the concepts of mathematics, including physics and engineering using the science exhibit K'NEX
- Worked with female engineering teams to bring engineering concepts to life by building their own mini projects using K'NEX in cooperative groups.
- Discovered how the laws of physics allow us to experience the excitement of roller coasters and take a ride on a unique roller coaster track on the Max Flight simulator.
We reached out to several female engineering associations to participate in the GEE workshop. Along with our presentation on the engineering professions, the following partners responded and volunteered their time and expertise:
- American Heritage School: Smantha Bishamber and Fiona Wong (members of the Pre-Engineering Club).
- University of Miami Civil and Architectural Engineering Undergraduate Department: Vanessa Benzecry, Janell Chaviano, and Lauren Malcela (Members of ASCE) and Dr. Carol Hays, lead professor in the Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental School of Engineering.
- We also worked with a student engineer at the Museum of Discovery and displayed a robot he helped re-build when he was a volunteer at age 16.
December 12, 2011
The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced yesterday that two ASTC-member institutions—the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Portland; New York Hall of Science, Queens; and the Da Vinci Discovery Center of Science and Technology, Allentown, Pennsylvania—were among the first 12 winners of a national competition to build 21st Century learning labs in museums and libraries around the country. The winners—four museums and eight libraries—will receive a total of $1.2 million in grants to plan and design the labs. Inspired by YOUMedia, a new teen space at the Chicago Public Library, and innovations in science and technology centers, these labs will help young people move beyond consuming content to making and creating it. In addition to the three ASTC members that received Learning Labs grants, four additional ASTC members—California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco; COSI, Columbus, Ohio; Institute for Learning Innovation, Edgewater, Maryland; and Science City at Union Station, Kansas City, Missouri—will partner with awarded libraries in their communities. OMSI, New York Hall of Science, COSI, and the California Academy of Sciences are also Girls RISEnet regional hub museums.
For information on those museums and libraries chosen as Learning Labs grant recipients, visit ww.imls.gov/news/21st_century_learning_lab_locations1.aspx.