Welcome to SciGirls, the ultimate destination for girls who love science! SciGirls is an upcoming PBS TV show, a website, and a resource provider for educators, club leaders and mentors who are working with girls doing science.

Are you a girl, age 11-14, who thinks science is fun and interesting? Or do you know a girl who fits this description? Then we want to hear from you! SciGirls is starting production on a brand new TV show and website and we're looking for girls to feature. Tell us who should be a SciGirls star!

Want to know more about us? Click here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

SciGirls Extraordinaire | Jennifer Ouellette

Jennifer Ouelette helps others learn about science in a way that's fun and entertaining. Although she's not a scientist herself (she was an English major), she is passionate about, and well versed, in science and science education. Among many things, she writes for the American Institute of Physics' TV project, Discoveries and Breakthroughs in Science. She's published articles including "Bubble, Bubble: Physics of Foam," "Talking Turkey and Tryptophan," "Soap Suds and Cosmic Secrets," as well as two books: "Black Bodies and Quatum Cats," and "The Physics of the Buffyverse."

Thanks, Jennifer, for putting the "phun" in physics!

SciGirls Extraordinaire | Space Food Scientist

NASA food scientist, Vickie Kloeris, has a task that's out of this world: managing the food system for the International Space Station! This week she happens to be teaming up with Astronaut Sandy Magnus in press interviews about holiday feasts in space. Just part of the job!

Space food has improved a lot over the years... And Vickie is making sure the space station has a wide variety of tasty, nutritious meals. Check out some space food recipes at http://spaceflight1.nasa.gov/living/spacefood/

See Vickie in another video about space food at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjjBiDQsDJw

Behind the Scenes | SciGirls Ed Resources

SciGirls is busy this winter developing companion educational resources for our first season! We are producing: a set of Activity Guides; a booklet outlining research-based strategies for sparking girls' interest in STEM; a poster that doubles as a board game; and a SciGirls "club kit."

Our Activity Guides will include fun, inquiry-based science investigations, engineering projects, and short science experiments for kids ages 8-12. Keep them in mind for SciGirls fun this spring!

SciGirls Museum Affliates Program Webinar

It's today! Learn how to apply for the SciGirls Museum Affiliates Program in a webinar at 1:00 pm CST (2:00 pm EST):


The program's RFP and application also can be downloaded on the right.

SciGirls use ordinary science to do the extraordinary. Join the SciGirls revolution!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Am What I Learn

Dr. Lodge McCammon (http://www.iamlodge.com) is one talented scientist and no stranger to TPT. He contributed some great nano songs to DFTV Nano. (See Scale and Nanotechnology.)

Earlier this year, Lodge worked with North Carolina middle school teacher Jamie Hall and a group of his students to answer: Why is education important to my future? They looked at President Obama’s “Back to School Event” speech and created an original song.

“I Will Contribute” was recorded and performed by Dr. Lodge and four middle school students (Elena, Hannah R., Caroline, and Hannah J.). The music video was created and performed by two North Carolina 8th graders (Keturah and Megan).

SciGirls applauds their efforts! (See more videos from the I Am What I Learn contest.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spice up STEM with SciGirls | Calling Museums and Science Centers!

Do you want to spice up your girl-focused science programs?

SciGirls is seeking museums and science centers for the pilot year of our Museum Affiliates Program! Our Affiliates Program will help science centers and museums enhance their existing girl-focused programs by providing multimedia educational resources, professional development training, and ongoing support.

Learn more about the SciGirls Museum Affiliates Program – and how to apply -- in a webinar on December 17, 2009, at 1:00 pm CST (2:00 pm EST): http://ngcproject.org/events/events.cfm?eventid=159. The RFP and application can also be found at this site.

Sign up now!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

SciGirls Extrodinaire | Javiera Guedes, Astronomer

Javiera Guedes, a grad student at the University of California Santa Cruz, is star-gazing with a mission! She is heading up a project exploring potential Earthlike planets near Alpha Centauri, the closest star system to Earth.

Guedes is part of a team using a telescope in Chile to investigate whether habitable planets are out there. Guedes is optimistic: "It's so close to us, and the position of the other stars is such that it should be very possible to find a small planet." But close is a relative term in the universe... in this case, more than 4 million light years away!

Monday, December 7, 2009

SciGirl Extraordinaire | More on Nobel Prize winner Dr. Carol Greider

One of the things that can be important for young girls considering a life in science is seeing women mentors who are balancing a career and family. After all, girls want to know that science doesn't mean a life spent alone in labs!

CNN's recent coverage of Nobel Prize winner Carol Greider offers a great example of a life lived fully. This CNN story gives a great overview of Greider's background, including how she told her kids she won the Nobel Prize and if they went to school that morning. (Nope!)

Women have won the Nobel Prize a total of 41 times in the history of the award, so Greider is in some rare company. But it's important to note that the scientists girls are introduced to don't need to be stars in their fields. Everyday working scientists can show girls that finding fulfilling work in STEM fields is an obtainable goal.

In fact, SciGirls incorporates this kind of mentoring into each of its episodes. When our shows air in 2010, you'll meet engineers, designers, biologists, and robot whizzes. Each has unique insights to share with girls about how they found their life's work. And soon enough their stories will be seen by millions of viewers across the country. You go, SciGirls!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Thinking pink?

SciGirls was interested to see this post on pink tools. We've had out own design discussions about pink. In a nutshell: Should Izzie embrace the pink?

Ultimately, we decided to open the SciGirls palette beyond the pink-purple haze. We wanted to fight the "pinkware" stereotype found in many girl products and let SciGirls identify with whatever colors strike their fancy.

But it's crazy that the pink discussion follows on up the ranks to products for women. Perhaps that's because the grown up audience is so completely split on the topic. In the blogger's informal survey, she found half the women liked the idea of pink tools and half said, "No go." Go figure!

Friday, November 20, 2009

SciGirls Extraordinaire | Jacquelyn Gill

Jacquelyn Gill, a Ph.D. candidate in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has analyzed lake deposits in Wisconsin and New York to come up with some new data and thinking on large-animal extinction in North America.

Her research is pretty complex, but a recent New York Times article gives a great synopsis.

Kudos to Gill and her research mates at UW Madison. We expect a long and distinguished career from this SciGirl!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Smart Pet Investigations

OK, this is a silly post, but it's Friday, so here goes!

Years ago DragonflyTV shot a segment in which 3 girls tried to determine if their cats were left of right-pawed. (It's still a pretty cute episode: Pick a Paw by Cleo, Brittany, and Molly)

Meanwhile, SciGirls thinks they might have been asking the wrong research question. Perhaps a better inquiry might be: "Is your cat an ambidextrous piano player?"

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Zombie Cockroaches!

Happy Halloween from

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gever Tulley's Bay Area Tinkering School

The Tinkering School, a sleepover summer camp, offers an exploratory curriculum designed to help kids – ages 8 to 17 – learn how to build things.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Summer Stock | SciGirls in Albuquerque

Itzel, Karina, Kayla, Esmeralda, Karla, Gabriela, Paulina, Diana, Daisy, Jasmine, Jesenia and Alondra are part of Niñas explorando la ciencia, Explora's latest after school science club exclusively for Latina girls. Every week they get to design experiments and explore a variety of topics... from microgravity to forensics to sound and robotics!

These SciGirls also get to meet Latina scientist mentors. Their first guest speaker, Eliana, is a Seismic Scientist originally from Columbia working at New Mexico Tech. She was so enthusiastic about her visit to the SciGirls club, she even designed a book to share with the Niñas!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

SciGirl Extraordinaire | Alexis McAdams

This summer, Alexis McAdams entered the Digital Open contest (DigitalOpen.org), which encouraged youth ages 17 and younger to submit projects demonstrating the transformative power of open technology. All projects submitted--including text, photos, and videos--were created from free and open software licenses.

Alexis' project was the "Dioractive," which raises awareness of global issues through the creation of physical dioramas that can be shared, reproduced, and remixed. Alexis said: "I was inspired to create this because I want people to reach out into their community and make a difference! If someone can pass by my diorama and continue to think about that issue for the rest of their day and decide to take action, then my job is done."

Watch Alexis explain the "Dioractive" on youtube!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Summer Stock | SciGirls in Chicago

The Museum of Science and Industry, in collaboration with the SciGirls en Español program, launched an outreach initiative called “Brilla La Ciencia” this summer. A group of Latina teenagers from the Museum’s Science Minors teen volunteer program led science workshops for youth participants at five community organizations.

The teenage SciGirls (Antonia, Amelia, Beth, Noemi, and Tere), accompanied and supervised by a college intern, traveled all around the city of Chicago visiting organizations and schools in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods. The students were excited to learn that the teenagers came from similar communities and that they spoke Spanish. They were not afraid to ask lots of questions about high school, working at the museum, and life as a teenager. As for the SciGirls, they really enjoyed being role models and teachers!

SciGirls Behind the Scenes | Starry Nights

Road trip anyone? When two SciGirls from Massachusetts couldn't find a starry sky in their neighborhood, they decided to find out why! They sought out Gurtina, an astronomy student at Harvard, to learn about light pollution. Gurtina guided the girls as they went on a quest for starry skies and helped with a world wide star count. Their success truly shined at a roof top star party, where they shared their discoveries with friends.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Horse, of Course!

When SciGirls started production on its first season, we knew we needed a good horse story because so many girls are horse crazy. Here's another great horse tale, this one from Compton, California.

Monday, October 5, 2009

American biologists win 2009 Nobel Prize for Medicine

Three cheers for biologists Carol Greider (shown on left), Elizabeth Blackburn (shown on right), and Jack Szostak, who share this year's Nobel prize for medicine. The trio was awarded "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase."

Hats off to the three scientists--but especially the SciGirls in the group! See more images.

Photo: Gerbil, licensed by Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Summer Stock '09 | USF Sarasota-Manatee Girls Stem Summit

School is back in session and it's that time of year we all look back and ask "where did the summer go?" For groups working in STEM encouragement, that sentiment can be especially profound because they were so busy, running great summer programs.

Over the next couple weeks, SciGirls will post a round up of fabulous summer programs we've heard about from across the country. We're calling the feature "Summer Stock." And here's the first installment--news from our friends at University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

On June 20, the university, working with the American Association of University Women, held their first Girls STEM Summit. The full-day program featured a keynote by marine scientist and author, Dr. Ellen Prager. Discussion workshops included: Careers in Marine Science (a perennial favorite girl topic!); Research and Research Process; Are You Smarter Than a Fourth-Grade Boy?; New Faces of Engineering; and Math is Cool. After a lunch break, girls participated in hands-on activity sessions and then wound up the day with a salsa dance lesson.

Sounds like fun! And who wouldn't consider a career in STEM after that kind of introduction to the field!

Valerie Connors, who helped organize the event, says feedback from girls has been positive. One young woman wrote: "Thank you so so so so so so so so so so so so much for putting the summit for girls together!! I had a ton of fun, and learned a lot! Now I am seriously considering taking up a career in marine biology, and its all thanks to u!!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flatland: The Movie

Here's an inspired project that helps kids think about geometry, while being thoroughly entertained. Flatland: The Movie is an animated film based on Edwin A. Abbott's classic novel, Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. One of the main characters is a charming little hexagon called Hex, so the movie is likely to engage the SciGirl in your life!

Set in a world of only two dimensions inhabited by sentient geometrical shapes, the story follows Arthur Square (Martin Sheen) and his ever-curious granddaughter Hex (Kristen Bell). When a mysterious visitor arrives from Spaceland, Arthur and Hex must come to terms with the truth of the third dimension, risking dire consequences from the evil Circles that have ruled Flatland for a thousand years.

Check out the trailer:

Want to see more? The producers sell DVDs for home viewing and for use in educational settings on their website Flatland: The Movie.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SciGirls Extraordinaire | Kim Ursetta, educator

With school back in session this week all over the country, SciGirls thought it would be a great time to recognize an educator who's making a difference in her approach to STEM education.

Under teacher Kim Ursetta's leadership, the new Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy opened to 142 kindergartners and first- and second-grade students in Denver's Athmar Park, a largely low-income, Hispanic neighborhood. Here's how Ursetta describes her vision for the school:

"I started talking about 21st century skills and wanting to prepare our kids in math and science, especially our low-income and ethnic minority students," Ursetta said. "We've been doing schools the same way in this nation for 150 years, so if we don't step up, then nothing is going to change."

Congratulations to Ursetta and her colleagues for making her visionary school a reality. Read more about the Mathematics and Science Leadership Academy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Girl on a Mission--Meet Alanna Koppen!

Alanna Koppen, a Minnesota seventh grader, is the state’s winner of the Igniting Creative Energy Challenge, an educational competition sponsored by Johnson Controls that encourages North American students to develop ingenious ways to save energy today and protect the environment. Watch her winning movie.

No doubt Alanna has mastered the green message in a really direct and creative way. Here's an excerpt from her statement of purpose:

Why do people who have the knowledge that they can save the world fail to do the least they can do? I made this movie to show the simplicity of the least people can do. That was my motivation for this project.

There are three things I want people to do from this project. I want them to know how easy doing their part can be. I picked three easy things: turning off the lights before leaving a room, switching from incandescent to compact fluorescent and recycle recycle recycle! Recycling just one can saves enough electricity to light a 100-watt bulb for 3 1/2 hours. Fluorescent light bulbs save over 2,000 times in its own weight in green house gases. Lighting makes up about 11% of our electricity and it's a huge waste of energy to leave them on when not in use. So these actions will not only save the planet, they can save people a lot of money.

The impact this will have on my own life will be minimal, I consider myself very green. I am hoping that whoever sees this video will think about it and perhaps do something about it. I don't care if one person or ten people see this movie, if at least one person walks away and says "You know what? That got to me. I'm going to recycle my bottles instead of throw them in the garbage" I will consider that a success. Every little thing matters when it comes to saving the planet.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Superhero Fairy

It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's a SciGirl!

Live from New York, it's the SciGirls fashion-tech show, featuring some really creative SciGirls and a superstar mentor, Diana Eng. You might recognize Diana from Project Runway fame!

Diana was a great example of an accomplished STEM pro helping SciGirls realize their project vision. Turns out the experience was a learning one for Diana, as well! She'll be working with teens in an upcoming project this fall!

Friday, August 14, 2009

AAUW: Breaking through Barriers in STEM for Women and Girls

The latest statistics provided by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the National Girls Collaborative Project confirm that women are severely underrepresented in STEM fields. Factors that contribute to this issue are discouragement of girls to participate and demonstrate activities in the science classrooms and a lack of representation of women faculty role models in the STEM disciplines.

Through an AAUW initiative, women student leaders from universities and colleges across the nation have been working to tear down the barriers that girls and young women face in STEM in order to work towards greater equality in these male-dominated fields.

AAUW’s initiative, the Campus Action Project (CAP) gives student leaders and campus faculty the opportunity to design and implement effective programs geared toward girls and young women that enhance campus offerings, promote leadership, and improve academic and career outcomes. Each year, a mission-based topic that the projects will focus on is announced, and AAUW has just announced their 2009-2010 CAP topic: Breaking through Barriers in STEM for Women and Girls.

Beginning in September 2009, university and college CAP teams will have the opportunity to apply for AAUW CAP grants to help develop and implement their project ideas.
The objective of these CAPs is to help girls build their confidence and provide them with the role models and resources they need in order to achieve their educational and economic goals in the STEM fields.

Learn more about the AAUW’s CAP initiative.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Girls Got Game

Interested in girls and interactive gaming? Take a look ivestiGaming, created by Michigan State University serious game professors Carrie Heeter and Brian Winn.

investiGaming is a gateway to research on gender, gaming and computing for the game industry, game design educators and students, and academic game researchers. Their site is a fabulous resource for learning more about how today's youth (girls and boys!) approach digital games.

Friday, July 31, 2009

SciGirls Extraordinaire | iTwixie.com

Check out iTwixie.com--a new website for tween girls.

Turns out the iTwixies have a lot in common with SciGirls. They know that tween girls are full of curiosity, smarts, ideas and beauty--and that girls have the power to change the world!

iTwixie is where girls get together and empower each other. And iTwixie challenges girls to express their unique talents, creations, natural beauty and true interests--including, yes, of course, science!

Check out the iTwixie posts on: Strong, Healthy Teeth, snow monkeys, and their book club top choice--Island of the Blue Dolphins. You go, girls!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dolphins + Mirror = Thrilling Science Investigation!

What’s it like to work with some of the most intelligent animals on Earth? Ask marine mammal lovers Cecilia and Serena, who just wrapped up a dolphin behavior research study in the Florida Keys. The girls teamed up with research scientist Dr. Jill Richardson from the University of Miami, to study dolphin personality in a family of Atlantic bottlenose dolphins at Dolphins Plus, in Key Largo, FL.

The girls also wondered if dolphins could recognize themselves in a mirror, since the ability of an animal to recognize its own reflection in the mirror is a sign of high intelligence. The famous mirror study had never been done before at Dolphins Plus, so our SciGirls lead the charge and put their research question to the test with dolphins Elvis--a 4 year old male, and Nica--a 4 year old female. The girls got to shadow expert dolphin trainers throughout the investigation, learning how trainers and dolphins communicate through a special language of hand gestures and whistles.

When they weren’t busy collecting data, Ceci and Serena loved swimming with these gorgeous dolphins and hearing their underwater “songs” of clicks and whistles--just check out the video!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

SciGirl Extraordinaire | Claire Dworsky, KSC water quality winner

Here's a young scientist making a real splash! Meet Claire Dworsky, the winner of Kids' Science Challenge water quality competition. This California girl's investigation was derived on the soccer field! Her question: "Can we test different stages of the water cycle runoff from grass and turf fields to see if one is more toxic than the other and if they could hurt plants, people, animals or ocean life?”

UC Santa Cruz scientist Adina Paytan helped mentor Claire with her inquiry. To learn more about the project, check out the Kids' Science Challenge website.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Behind the Scenes | The Dirt on Archaeology

Check out post by SciGirls archaeology mentor K. Renee Barlow on her blog, The Dirt on Archaeology.

More news to come soon on our recent dolphin shoot in Florida!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Research News | Nadya Fouad, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Nadya Fouad, vocational psychologist and UWM Distinguished Professor, is an author of a new study on what steers girls toward or away from math and science during their education.

She is one of the authors of a three-year study aimed at identifying supports and barriers that steer girls toward or away from science and math during their education. Fouad found that the self-confidence instilled by parents and teachers is more important for young girls learning math and science than their initial interest.

To read more about the study, check out this Science Daily article.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Behind the Scenes | Archaeology Adventure

Meet Jazzy and Gates, two adventure-loving SciGirls who just returned from four days of hardcore camping far away from running water, little siblings, computers and cell phones - all in the name of science!The girls teamed up with Dr. Renee Barlow, the Curator of Archaeology of the College of Eastern Utah’s Prehistoric Museum, to try and unearth some clues about the mysterious Fremont Indian culture that lived in Range Creek Canyon about 1,000 years ago. The Fremont people disappeared suddenly and now archaeologists are trying to determine how they lived and what happened to them. Jazzy and Gates went to great lengths to collect their data - they even had to rock climb to one hard-to-reach site!What’s that on the rock? It’s a bird, it’s a plane – nope! It’s ancient rock art from Range Creek Canyon in Utah!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

SciGirls Extraordinaire | Kate Moore, texting queen

Yesterday a 15-year-old from Des Moines, Iowa, won the national texting competition, sponsored by LG Mobile Phones. Press reports suggest Kate has only had a cell phone for 8 months, but rose to the top of the teen heap through good old-fashioned practice. Evidently she texts some 14,000 messages each month.

Feeling ambivalent about whether this is actually an accomplishment? You're not alone! Adult attitudes about kids' use of technology can be murky. ("Turn off that video game!") But there's more to the story.

Kate won $50,000 for her efforts, using skill, accuracy, and nerves of steel. And new technologies can help kids understand the power of STEM. After all, someone has to invent, design, and program the many goodies that fill--and enhance--their digital lives.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

SciGirls Extraordinaire | Baby Helen

Check out this SciGirl, spied recently at her big brother's kindergarten concert. Not yet a year old, Helen is a true digital native who clearly has her fingers on the pulse of new technology. Her parents say her interests lean toward the big "T" in STEM, including mobile technologies. And although she hasn't decided on a college just yet, there's no doubt that it's never really to soon to encourage a girl in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Behind the Scenes | Advisory Board Meeting

Earlier this week, the SciGirls staff welcomed its advisory board to TPT for two full days of sharing our work to date and planning for the remaining shoots as well as website and outreach development.

Our advisors are colleagues, collaborators, and creative dreamers who know the field of STEM gender equity and have great ideas for all that SciGirls can be. To name drop just a little, the group included: Karen Flammer, University of California and Sally Ride Science (and a space physicist, to boot!); Jeanine Gregoire, Augsburg College; Jo Haas, Louisville Science Center; Julie Johnson, Science Museum of Minnesota; Dale McCreedy, the Franklin Institute; Karen Peterson, National Girls Collaborative Project; Ruto Sevo, Momox Consulting; Julie Shannan, Girls Start; Beth Spezia, WSIU; and Jen Stancil, Girls Math & Science Partnership.

In addition to offering a lot of great advice from their various vantage points, the group saw a sneak preview of some early Puppet Engineering clips. Here's one of the clips--from puppet engineering--making its web debut. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Behind the Scenes | Turtle Power!

It’s time to be on the lookout for turtles! In late May and early June, turtles emerge from ponds, lakes and wetlands and often cross roads and land to find the ideal spot to nest and lay their eggs. (Turtles are creatures of habit and know where they’re going, so it’s best to stay out of their way...) Our wild-about-nature SciGirls are soon starting a turtle habitat and population investigation at their local nature center (Dodge Nature Center). Did you know you can tell how old a turtle is by counting the lines on one of its scutes (that’s a scale on its shell)? How cool is that?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

SciGirls Extraordinaire | Imagine That! Engineering Innovation Essay Contest

The results are in! The Imagine That! engineering innovation essay contest, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering's "Engineer Girl" website, asked young people to consider one of three images on their site and discuss its potential purposes and function--using nothing but their imaginations and engineering creativity.

Decreasing the amount of space junk, magnetic levitation transportation, and organic light-emitting diodes, were the winning topics for the grades 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 categories respectively. Impressed? (We were, too!) So if you're looking for a little STEM inspiration, check out the winning essays.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Behind the Scenes | Horse Sense

So what are these boot-sporting SciGirls up to? Kicking off a scientific horse comparison, of course! The second shoot of our new series is off and running--pardon the pun!

Check out our talented cameraman, Mike Phillips. He's a hold over from our DragonflyTV crew. Mike was just nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Editing for his work on the series. Did we mention he won an Emmy in the same category last year? Congratulations, Mike!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Behind the Scenes | It's a Wrap!

Earlier this week, the SciGirls production team finished shooting our very first episode. Hip, hip, hooray! The pig puppet project (try to say that three times quickly...) culminated at Minneapolis' 35th annual May Day Parade, hosted by the creative visionaries from Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. (Visit their site to see more great images from the event.)

Thanks to Anna, Lacie, Clara Sophia, and Norah--our SciGirls stars-- and their supportive families for helping make this project possible. And a special shout out to our SciGirls engineering mentors AnnMarie Thomas and Willis "Bow" Bowman for their guidance in all things puppet! And remember, it's not officially Spring in Minnesota until a big, pink, papier-mâché pig comes rumbling down Bloomington Avenue!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Behind the Scenes | SciGirls en Español training

This week Maddie Ziegler and Margaret Duden met with our SciGirls en Español partners from the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys for a day-long workshop in St. Paul. This was the third of nine workshops Maddie, SciGirls' bilingual informal science education consultant from Albuquerque, is conducting this spring for SciGirls en Español grant recipients.

Girl Scout Community Specialists Isabel Morales and Graciela Gorman learned how the Girl Scouts can take maximum advantage of the SciGirls en Español educational resources to encourage Latina girls in STEM. Turns out the research-based strategies SciGirls recommends for engaging girls in science echo the core values of the Girl Scouts. Isabel and Graciela pointed out that the model for Girl Scout experiences – Discover, Connect, and Take Action – was consistent with SciGirls practices such as highlighting real-life contexts for science and challenging dominant ways of thinking.

Isabel, Graciela, and other Minnesota-based Girl Scout leaders will be integrating SciGirls activities into troop meetings this spring, summer and fall. They will also draw on SciGirls resources to bolster STEM experiences for girls at summer camps.

The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys has developed several community initiatives to empower girls from traditionally underserved communities. Their Latina Initiative offers more than 550 Latina and Hispanic girls culturally relevant programming and is serving as a national model for other Girl Scout councils trying to reach more diverse communities. You go, Girl Scouts!

Friday, April 24, 2009

SciGirl Extraordinaire | Eden Maloney

Meet Eden Maloney. Eden volunteers twice a week at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. We think she's the quintessential SciGirl!

Since 1975, the Marine Mammal Center has rescued and treated over 12,000 elephant seals, sea lions, sea otters, harbor seals, fur seals, dolphins, harbor porpoises and the like at its hospital facility. While the Center’s mission is to save as many animals as possible, sometimes their patients are too sick to recover. These animals play an extra special role. When doctors look inside them, they find clues and information about how they died and how they lived. This helps the docs understand how to prevent other deaths. Sometimes they can even use a former patient’s bones, teeth or organs to educate others about the importance of caring for these wonderful creatures.

Here's the deal: Eden volunteers in the specimen preparation lab. This particular task (one of the smelliest around!) entails preparing skulls, whiskers, pelts, and other parts for teaching and research. Eden’s dissects and cleans specimens, preserving the bones and putting them back together again -- no easy task. While many other youth volunteers choose to work in animal care or teaching, Eden chose specimen preparation over all other departments! No wonder we're so impressed!

Know any other great SciGirls like Eden? Tell us about them and we'll try to feature them on the blog and maybe even the TV show!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Behind the Scenes | Lights, Camera, Action!

It's official! SciGirls producers recently crossed out the "pre" in front of "production" and jumped in to shoot the very first SciGirls episode, right here in Minnesota. Cast and crew are busy creating some theatrical magic to show girls everywhere that STEM-related activities aren't just good for kids—they're fun, too!

So are you a little curious as to which fabulous girl-centered project is the star of the show? All we can say for sure is that in a fit of outrageous creativity, SciGirls Anna, Lacie, Norah and Clarasophia are busy engineering a gigantic puppet, which shall go pictureless until it makes its debut on May 3 in the annual parade put on by Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater. (But the images in this post from past parades should give you an inkling of what to expect.) The girls are working with mechanical engineer AnneMarie Thomas and mentor Willis "Bow" Bowman to design a puppet that will move and shake its way down Bloomington Avenue to rush in the Spring. Good luck, girls!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Behind the Scenes | SciGirls en Español

SciGirls is turning bilingual! For the first time we're offering our educational resources in Spanish and English as well as customized professional development training and funding for 9 Latina-serving programs throughout the United States. See a list of SciGirls en Español groups. The first training is scheduled for next week in Shreveport, Louisiana.

The project is the result of two partnerships. The Self Reliance Foundation (SRF), a Washington, D.C. based organization, empowers underserved communities through culturally-grounded media (radio programs, newspaper features, community festivals, and family programs) and access to practical services. SRF staffer Alicia Santiago helped select segments that would resonate with young Latinas, oversaw translations for video and print and helped provide insight on how SciGirls content could best serve the Latina community.

KLCS-TV—“The Education Station”—is a noncommercial educational television station licensed to the Los Angeles Unified School District and a member PBS station. The production staff at KLCS was instrumental in helping repackage individual SciGirls video, collaborating to develop a format that would best serve middle school Latinas and their families.

SciGirls en Español is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Research on Gender in Science and Engineering. For more information, or to request review copies of SciGirl en Español materials, email scigirls@tpt.org.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Behind the Scenes | SciGirls en Español in Albuquerque

This past weekend SciGirls staffer Margaret Duden traveled to Albuquerque to attend the Expanding Informal Science Education for Latinos conference, which was organized by the Self Reliance Foundation. The fabulous SRF, our partners on the SciGirls en Español project, brought 100+ representatives from informal science institutions and science research organizations together with leaders from Hispanic organizations, media, and educational projects.

Margaret says the conference was invigorating! "It was so exciting to network with people passionate about enhancing STEM learning opportunities among Latino-Hispanic Americans." Conference topics included best practices in designing culturally effective STEM programming, opportunities for collaboration, and a poster session, during which Margaret shared the hot-off-the-presses SciGirls en Español DVD and Activity Guide.

Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic/racial minority group in the United States. Yet the group is significantly under-represented in STEM. It's important to encourage more Latino youth to realize their full potential in STEM so that they can become innovators, engineers, researchers, and problem-solvers in our future workforce.

Hang tight to learn more about SciGirl en Español; information to follow in our next post!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

SciGirls Supporters | Techbridge

Techbridge is another great STEM opportunity for girls! Run by the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California, Techbridge encourages girls in technology, science and engineering through multi-faceted programs. They offer after-school and summer programs with hands-on projects, career exploration opportunities, and academic and career guidance.

Like SciGirls, Techbridge also works to build a strong network of support for girls, reaching educators, role models, families, and partners through professional development, trainings, publications, and other dissemination activities across the country. You go, girls!

For more information on their programs, visit techbridgegirls.org. Know another great program like Techbridge? We'd love to hear about it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Behind the Scenes | SciGirls at NSTA

Last week SciGirls staffers attended the National Science Teachers Association conference in the beguiling Big Easy. Booth traffic was impressive, in spite of recent economic realities. And SciGirls was a big hit! Educators--formal and informal--were excited to hear about our plans for the show. But even better was chatting with people who already have girl-serving programs.

Teachers spoke with great pride about their "awesome girls." In addition, many groups are working on projects that include a dose of kid empowerment. That means kids are in the driver's seat, deciding what STEM topics they care about and how the want to investigate them.

This approach is thrilling for SciGirls because it dovetails with our own philosophy. We're excited to begin featuring these programs, and you'll be hearing more about them as show development continues. In the meantime, please give us a shout out if you know of a program we should consider. And as they say in NOLA: "Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler" or "Let the good times roll!"

Monday, March 16, 2009

SciGirls Extraordinaire | The Shem Group

No doubt about it, SciGirls around the world are up to some serious science!

In Qinghai, China, The Shem Group is training young women to test for bacteria contamination in their water using petrifilm, which identifies coliform, an indicator for bacteria that may make you sick. In this image, girls place a 1ml sample of water onto the center red circle of petrifilm, under the plastic cover, using a pipetter. They are careful not to not touch the red circle or the bottom side of the protective film, as this could contaminate their sample and give the wrong results.

The Shem Group empowers Tibetan women and their communities through grassroots development to provide people with access to basic needs such as water, fuel, electricity, health care, and basic education. They train educated Tibetan women to design, implement, and manage sustainable grassroots development projects that will successfully alleviate the problems their communities face.

Friday, March 6, 2009

SciGirls Supporters | Engineer Your Life

Dream Big. Love what you do. These messages might not be what you'd expect from the engineering field. But while numbers of women in some areas of science are healthy, the engineering field (that tricky "E" in STEM!) continues to struggle recruiting young women for its ranks.

Engineer Your Life (EYL) is a national messaging campaign designed to reposition engineering as an exciting, rewarding career choice for young women. EYL's messages—creativity has its rewards, explore the possibilities, and make a world of difference—are all part of a national campaign designed to encourage college bound girls to explore engineering.

The Engineer Your Life Web site anchors the national campaign, and is meant for high school girls and the adults in their lives (parents, counselors, teachers, and other educators) who want to learn more about what life and work are like for engineers. Be sure to check out the ten great reasons why you'll love engineering!

Know another great engineering encouragement program for girls? Tell us about it!

Friday, February 27, 2009

SciGirls Partners | WFSU Tallahassee, FL

Kudos to the SciGirls of Tallahassee! On Saturday, March 7, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will present WFSU-TV with the My Source Community Impact Award for the station’s participation in “WFSU SciGirls,” a summer camp based on our very own SciGirls outreach program. (Read our post on the camp.) The awards ceremony will take place as part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting/PBS-hosted Council of Chief State School Officers Legislative Conference.

SciGirls supporter Kim Kelling-Engstrom, director of educational outreach at WFSU-TV says, “We are honored to be recognized by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for one of our most popular community efforts.” And SciGirls is honored to have WFSU as an ongoing and outstanding partner!

Friday, February 20, 2009

SciGirls Supporters | BrainCake

The field of Gender Equity in STEM is full of helpful professionals who work hard to support each other's work. SciGirls wants to take a minute to introduce you to one of these groups: the smart, sweet people at BrainCake.

BrainCake is an inspired program of the Girls, Math & Science Partnership at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center. The Partnership's mission is to engage, educate, and embrace girls as architects of change. Working with girls ages 11-17 and their parents, teachers, and mentors, they draw organizations, stakeholders, and communities together in an effort to ensure that girls succeed in math and science.

BrainCake helps girls be confident, solve problems, and think independently. It also engages girls in current science, helping them understand its relevance to their life today. They create and link girls to programs that educate and prepare them to understand and use science in their everyday lives. And, they embrace girls as architects of change - envisioning, planning, organizing, shaping, and building a better world - with math and science as their tools.

And BrainCake's fabulously cute website reaches girls from around the globe who are interested in changing the world with math and science! Join them at BrainCake.org, the online sisterhood for girls ages 11–17 who want to change the world with math and science!