What are the guiding principles and values of Science Club for Girls?
Science Club for Girls’ mission is to foster excitement, confidence, and literacy in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for girls and gender-expansive youth from underrepresented communities by providing free, experiential programs and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women-in-STEM mentors.
Science Club for Girls’ vision is a world devoid of the systemic inequities that frequently leave our communities behind, particularly here in the Greater Boston region with its thriving STEM economy…a world in which science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are accessible for everyone—regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic factors. We envision a STEM workforce populated by robust numbers of women, women of color, and women from low-income backgrounds—reflecting the diversity of the overall population—who contribute their talent and perspective to solving the most complex issues of our time while simultaneously reaping the life-changing economic benefits of careers in STEM.
What are the ongoing services or programs that you provide?
With Black and Latina women making up only 4% of scientists and engineers in the U.S., Science Club for Girls (SCFG) addresses a critical need, offering a K-12 continuum of free, high-quality, hands-on, out-of-school-time STEM education and mentorship programs for girls and gender-expansive youth most underrepresented in STEM by race and/or socioeconomic factors. To decrease barriers of access, programs take place both in-person and virtually via Zoom and all supplies are provided. Programs—delivered during academic semesters and school vacations—include mentor-led Science Clubs (grades K-8), Junior Mentors (Leadership Development for 8-12), Coding Club (6-8), Robotics & Artificial Intelligence Club (6-8), and Summer Rocketry Program (6-8). We also provide programming year-round via our TV show, SCFGLive!, broadcast on 13 platforms, including Comcast, and with media partners in 7 cities. During the 2023-24 academic year, SCFG will serve more than 625 students each semester in Greater Boston, with plans for continued expansion in the years to come.
At SCFG, we make a long-term investment in a girl's STEM education (i.e., grades K-12), combining effective mentoring relationships with ongoing exposure to a wide range of STEM topics presented in an engaging manner. This approach catalyzes girls to envision and pursue a future in STEM, something they may not have thought possible previously.
Are there any upcoming projects, initiatives, or events that your organization would like others to know about?
Alongside Science Club for Girls’ (SCFG) programmatic expansion, we recently launched a campaign titled, “Only 4%,” which is raising public awareness of the vast underrepresentation of Black and Latina women in STEM (who represent only 4% of scientists and engineers in the U.S.) and the general lack of diversity in STEM. We will also raise awareness about the fact that creating a more diverse STEM workforce is in everyone’s best interest as all of our daily lives are increasingly impacted by challenges such as global pandemics, climate change, and AI and cybersecurity—challenges that will have STEM-based solutions. Yet, currently, there are many talented individuals missing from these efforts and, because of the magnitude of these challenges, we need EVERYONE at the proverbial STEM table working to innovate solutions and find our way forward. This campaign is intended to not only raise awareness, but also engage new donors and sponsors in supporting our programs so we can meet the demand for our programs and continue to expand and maintain high-quality programming in new communities. You can learn more at www.scienceclubforgirls.org/4-percent.
Please describe one of your organization's recent accomplishments.
Over the past several years, Science Club for Girls (SCFG) has seen tremendous success. We have demonstrated our capacity for growth and readiness to scale our model—steadily increasing enrollment, programming, geographic reach, and engagement of underrepresented populations. We have increased enrollment capacity by 320% over the past 5 years—from 150 girls served each semester in the 2018-19 academic year to 625 each semester in the current 2023-24 year. Despite this continuous expansion, each year we have had a waitlist of over 100 students, indicating the huge demand for SCFG’s programs. The development and continuation of virtual programming (originally conceived as a temporary response to the pandemic) has been an integral part of this success due to its immense popularity among underrepresented families and its ability to further reduce barriers of access, one of SCFG’s primary goals. SCFG was recently recognized for our growth and success in serving underrepresented communities with Lab Central Ignite’s bioDiversity Award for non-profit organizations.
If your organization was an emoji, which would it be and why?
😎 because the future is bright for the girls and gender expansive youth we serve!