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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Science Club for Girls

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Adult & Child Matching Programs, Children & Youth, Girls Clubs

Mission: Science Club for Girls increases the confidence and literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) of K-12th grade girls belonging to groups that are underrepresented in these fields, through free programs that include hands-on learning, mentorship, and leadership opportunities. Girls work with mentor-scientists who model and foster leadership, affirm college as an expectation, and promote careers in science and technology as goals and options. In other words, we create an environment where girls have fun doing science and engineering, connecting with female mentors in those fields, and give older girls a chance to grow as guides and leaders! P.S. We were voted the 2009 Nonprofit of the Year by the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce.

Results: We have a 80% return rate for girls in elementary school, and a 65% return rate for girls in middle and high schools. These girls vote with their feet! Each year, we place between 2-5 high school students in internship positions at our corporate/university partner sites. In the past 4 years, all 19 of the high school girls who graduated from our program entered a two- or four-year college. 8 of them are in science- or engineering-related majors. Our enrollment has increased by about 20% each year the last 3 years.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 800+ participate in semester-long or vacation week programs

Geographic areas served: Cambridge, Boston, Newton, Lawrence, Brookline

Programs: Science clubs - a total of 65 school-year k-8 science clubs engaged 794 participants at 14 sites in five cities in eastern massachusetts (cambridge, boston, newton, lawrence and fitchburg). Clubs were led by volunteer mentors at a ratio of approximately 1 adult:5 girls each semester. Clubs met for 1-1. 5 hours per week for 8-10 weeks in the fall and spring. Curricula included engineering around the world, body maps, circuits and magnets, sound and light, chemistry and crystals, slime and matter, rescue by design, oceans, and astronomy. A total of 98 mentors from area universities and corporations supported these programs. Approximately 37% have or are earning their masters or doctorate degrees in stem. 4 campus chapters support our programs through volunteer recruitment, and the some club management roles, providing these women with leadership and other development opportunities, so in turn, they can be better role models for our girls and teens. We currently have chapters at northeastern university, harvard university, boston college, and brandeis university.

teen programs - we piloted a new 6-8th grade program, steministas, with 30 students at 2 sites, in preparation for the transition of these grades to the teen program. The steminista program is designed as a project-based, interdisciplinary curriculum that consists of multiple modules over the school year, and allows middle school girls to combine creativity and stem-related problem solving. Girls first go through a series of learning modules that give them foundational stem skills and an understanding of design, and are introduced to ideas such as biomimicry, climate control and feedbacks, and material science. Thereafter, they engage in 2-5 week-long "consulting" projects in different areas of stem, from civil and environmental engineering to astrobiology that are presented as problems by experts. They work in teams to create a solution, product or set of results related to the topic. We continued the research internship program for a second year. Junior and seniors in high school engaged in research projects at harvard university, simmons college, children's hospital and at aurora flight sciences. These and the other young women presented their projects and research at a year-end showcase, and/or the cambridge science festival. 90 and 98 high school girls participated in the fall and spring semesters respectively, in one or more of teen programs. Participants were engaged in our challenge teams: media team (6), rocket team (7), girls with a z: adventures with zebrafish program (20), coup de code game development (5); mobile app development (11) and internship program (6). The remainder were junior mentors who co-taught the science clubs or vacation week programs. 32 mentors, mostly professionals in stem, facilitated these programs. An additional 35 volunteers hosted girls for field trips. 32 mentors, mostly professionals in stem, facilitated these programs. An additional 35 volunteers hosted girls for field trips.

special programs - the summer vacation week program engaged 36 girls from 2nd-6th grades, in topics ranging from zebrafish biology, to green chemistry to ecology. We piloted a 6-week youth leaders in stem program, where teens spent each 20-hour week exposed to a different industry/research area, learning about the fundamental concepts, industry/real-life applications, and going on field trips to meet female professionals to explore careers and life paths. The show me the science event introduced over 30 boston area elementary school girls and their families to our programs through hands-on demos facilitated by area companies.

Community Stories

56 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Cassie I.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Science Club for Girls to organize tech programs for their middle and high school aged students. I am consistently impressed with the professionalism and passion of the team, and I am weekly re-energized by the curiosity and cleverness of the students.

Mary87

Advisor

Rating: 5

My daughter started in Science Club for Girls when she was in kindergarten and continued through elementary school. She is now an early childhood teacher. The hands on learning from women in STEM she experienced in Science Club for Girls created a passion for STEM which she passes on now to her own students.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter attended weekly Science Club meetings all the time she was in grade school. Meetings were on Friday afternoons and I have so many happy memories of picking her up and hearing about experiments and the cool scientists who led them. One day I waited in the school lunch room to pick up my daughter and watched a row of 8 ten year old girls skipping past me singing a song they had made up about how they just dissected a cow's heart. On a Saturday morning, I took my daughter to Harvard Square to meet an undergraduate scientist who was taking my daughter and her friends to see her lab. Afterwards the scientist and the girls went together to get their nails done. My daughter is now a pre-school teacher and she tells me that the experience she had at Science Club doing hands on science makes her comfortable and playful doing the same with her students.

Rich G.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Science Club for Girls makes a powerful positive difference in the young women in the Boston Area.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My daughter participated in Science Club for Girls, since she was 4 years old, as a 'junior kindergartner'. She is now a Freshman in High School, with aspirations to be a Science Journalist. Science Club for Girls consistently encouraged and empowered my daughter and all of the other girls to reach for the stars. That the potential to shine and thrive are their reality. This afterschool program provided a haven for girls to meet, explore, share and support one another as they embarked on captivating, interesting projects. One of the highlights for my daughter was to have the opportunity to be a part of a giant 'sleepover' in Boston's Museum of Science!! Imagine! sleeping under the stars in a space near the museum's planetarium --interacting with girls, from all over the State. I'm so grateful for Science Club for Girls.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Science Club for girls is fantastic! My daughter has learned a tremendous amount about science and engineering, and even more important she has female role models to emulate. The Club is diverse and my child meets children she would not ordinarily meet at school or in our neighborhood. The program is free and optional activities are very reasonable. The atmosphere is very positive and encouraging. Now that I think about it, I realize that the Science Club has not only been good for my daughter, it's been good for me as well!

Maggie G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has a really fun time learning about different aspects of science while conducting experiments and recording subsequent data along with other girls her own age. She enjoys herself so much she doesn't realize the education she receiving. I think it is so important that girls are exposed to science at an early age so that as they grow, it is their right and their due as students of life.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I worked for SCFG when I was in high school. It was a great experience giving young girls the encouragement and motivation they need to gain interest in science. The teamwork and social skills SCFG instills in the girls is much needed in the community and is no doubt setting them up for bright futures.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Science Club for Girls is such an incredible organization. The model encourages girls to actively engage in the STEM areas and to ask scientific questions about the world around them. I have had the opportunity to volunteer with the organization for a number of years and have enjoyed every minute I have spent with the SCFG staff, mentor scientists, junior mentors, and girls involved. Everyone is incredibly dedicated and enthusiastic to be apart of the program.

Ginna H.

Client Served

Rating: 4

Both of my daughters have participated in Science Club for Girls for the past three years. They really enjoy it and even at their young age are learning real science. I'm impressed by how the group leaders can make these concepts fun and accessible to young kids. They come home energized and excited to talk about the experiments they did that week. As a parent I'm also extremely happy with email communications from the group. I always feel like they are handled very professionally and I know what to expect, whether my girls are registered, upcoming events, etc. We have also enjoyed the big science festival they have every year where the girls talk about their work and it's exciting to hear from the older girls and learn from them.

Liza P.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Science is very very interesting to me and I like to be able to share my interest with other girls, to show them that there is a lot of interesting things that can be done with simple everyday items. I think that this sparks curiosity that leads to innovation and creating solutions to problems and figuring problems.

Donor

Rating: 5

This was my daughters first year doing SCFG. A friend of her's suggested it and she enjoyed every minute of it. I was impressed with the club's organization and planning. We rec'd a handout that explained what the girls would be working on each week and also after the club met a list of questions to help us provoke conversations with our children at home about their meeting. She was exposed to chemistry, physics and math. In kindergarten she worked with liquids, elasticity, viscosity and measuring! It was great.

Barbara65

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SCFG inspires young girls to try new things, to think, to work in teams and to explore and develop talents that they might otherwise never have a chance to do. It is especially inspiring that girls who have started as young children in the program grow into junior mentors and earn more and more responsibility. They as well as the staff of SCFG are role models for girls, both in the fields of science and technology but also in the development of confidence and life skills.

Cassandra H.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Science Club for Girls has been my daughter's favorite after-school program for three years now -- Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade! She's learned so much hands-on science, and comes home excited to show us her experiments and explain how everything works. Mentors and junior mentors make it fun and are outstanding role models. The annual "Everybody Loves Science" celebration gives the girls a chance to show the world what they've learned, and they absolutely rise to the challenge of explaining their work to the guests. We are so grateful to this organization. Thanks, SCFG!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm involved in a variety of ways, initially as a client served (for my daughter Jasmine), but since then as a volunteer/adviser/donor. SCFG is a fantastic organization that is making a huge impact for girls in Massachusetts, and now for a growing group of girls in Ghana. Connie is an inspiration, and I'm convinced many others will believe in their strategies in promoting Girls STEM opportunities.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a Teen Mentor for Science Club for Girls. I really love it. I taught kindergarteners this year, and it was so much fun to teach science to these little girls. They love being able to learn new, neat things, like how to convert materials into slime. I felt great being able to do this for them.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Science Club for Girls is a great organization! My daughter who is a very shy 6 year old started going to SCFG in the fall. It has been a wonderful experience for her. She usually does not prefer group extra curricular programs. However, this was not the case with this program. She stuck with it and to my amazement even wanted to go back for the spring session. The program is nurturing her love for science while building her self-confidence. Thanks SCFG!!! We will definitely be back for the 2012-2013 program.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My 6 year old daughter attended the Science Club for Girls on Saturday mornings at Northeastern University. She loved coming and making friends with girls from other communities. The young women who taught the classes loved what they were doing and the girls really responded to them. SCFG isa fantastc opportunity for young girls to be exposed to more math and science programs. We can't wait to do it again. Thank you. - Katie O'Brien, parent of a participant.

Patricia N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a resident and as a school board member in Cambridge, I am grateful that Science Club for Girls exists in our city. The model of exposing young girls to science through interactive activities, of giving older girls a chance to serve as junior teachers and role models, and recruiting working women scientists to work with both sets of girls is an incredible effective combination. The result is a program that fulfills multiple worthy goals. SCFG helps address a glaring lack of scientific literacy in general in our country. SCFG also provides a direct positive experience for girls, who despite years of attempts to encourage involvement in science still lag in almost every scientific profession. Plus adults in the community get a chance to interact with young people, and to learn more about the incredible potential in many of our students. I do believe boys deserve encouragement, too. however, the need for an explicity focus on girls in science is clear. SCFG is a terrific nonprofit that benefits our students and our whole community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

SCFG is building an incredible community of tiered mentoring for girls in science. They have an amazing metric and helping girls (usually the first in their families to go to college) see themselves as possible scientists! Scientists mentor older girls who mentor younger girls. It is an amazing chain of leadership development. The rainbow colors of the girls at an event shows you what a difference this growing organization can make in future for diversity in the science.

Christine Y.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a mentor scientist for a kindergarten classroom for a semester, and walking into (and then out of! phew) that school was the highlight of my week. SCFG is an exciting, organized, and inspiring organization that encourages girls to get their hands dirty and be excited about learning. While no longer in the Boston area, I still find myself supporting this organization each month because I know what an amazing job they do and the minimal resources they require to effect their change - simply put, I'm proud to have been involved with SCFG.