Austin, Texas (PRWEB) September 12, 2012
STEM education is no longer the provenance of the economically privileged or predominantly male school age student. Girlstart is disrupting the traditional pathway to a liberal arts education by delivering girl-focused, relevant STEM education that appeals to girls from all walks of life. By upending long-held stereotypes of science nerds, tech geeks, engineering loners and math dorks, Girlstart has created a new path of educational advancement that enables access to technology, and embraces critical thinking and problem solving.
Girlstart empowers girls through hands-on learning in STEM activities. No lab coats needed. Girlstart STEM education is fun, colorful and interactive. According to two U.S. Department of Commerce studies, “STEM: Good Jobs Now and For the Future” and “Women in STEM: An Opportunity and an imperative,” growth in STEM jobs in the past ten years was three times higher than non-STEM jobs. They also found that women represent less than a quarter of the STEM workforce. Another study, “Why So Few?,” by The American Association of University Women also revealed that while women earn almost 50 percent of America's bachelor-level degrees, fewer than 20 percent of STEM degrees are earned by women. This discrepancy points to the fact that women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in engineering disciplines. But can young girls ¬– especially those from disadvantaged school districts – really gain a foothold into STEM careers?
According to current participants in Girlstart After School programs, the answer is a resounding yes. “Ortega teachers serve a student population that is 97 percent low income. We are so grateful for the Girlstart After School program. Girlstart gives girls the tools and positive experiences that inspire them to not only build those windows of opportunity, but also to design them!” stated Anna Pedroza, Ph.D. and principal of Ortega Elementary School located in the Austin Independent School District.
Girlstart Game Changers is a fundraising event designed to offset the costs of these Girlstart After School programs for the 2012-2013 academic school year. This translates to over 600 girls in over 30 schools throughout Texas. No other comparable STEM programs in the country have been able to scale their curriculum to meet the needs of so many. The current after-school programs for 3rd – 7th grades services 100 percent girls; with over 70 percent of participants from economically disadvantaged homes. Nationwide, the Girlstart After School program has not only been recognized as an exemplar of STEM education, but also for delivering best practices in out-of-school programs to at-risk students.
The Game Changers fundraiser will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2012 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on The University of Texas at Austin campus. As the keynote speaker, Richelle Parham, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of eBay North America, will touch on the importance of mentoring in helping girls and women advance. “I’ve been an advocate for women’s mentorship throughout my career, and have benefitted tremendously from the insights and inspiration of successful women leaders, especially in the technology business. I’m committed to sharing what I’ve learned to help build awareness for the advantages of early STEM-focused education for girls,” according to Ms. Parham.
In addition to the keynote address from Ms. Parham, Shree Bose, the first winner of the Google Global Science Fair, will be on hand to share her first-hand experiences as a young game changer.
To learn more about Girlstart, make a donation or sponsor a table at the event, visit girlstart.org or call (512) 916-4775.
Girlstart's mission is to empower girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Founded in 1997 in Austin, Texas, Girlstart is one of the few community-based informal education programs in the nation specifically dedicated to empowering and equipping K–12 girls in STEM. Girlstart develops and implements a range of innovative, research-based education and mentorship programs designed to promote girls’ early engagement and academic success in STEM, encourage postsecondary aspirations and persistence in the STEM pipeline among women and other under-represented groups, and develop a diverse STEM workforce for the 21st century.