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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

17 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Lena S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Science Club for Girls has had such a positive influence on my two daughters. They are so excited every Saturday to meet their friends and classmates. The instructors make the class fun and entertaining and my two daughters really loved writing in their journals after each class. For me, this club has been a Godsend. I just hope they will get accepted in the fall so they can continue to flourish and foster a passion for science! My name is Lena Sheehan and I think Science Club for Girls is one of the best clubs I have ever been involved with.

Heather37

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with SCFG gave me the experience of learning how to communicate science to a younger audience than I had previously. As a volunteer I felt supported, appreciated, and like I was doing something good for local girls. I only wish I could have been able to volunteer for longer.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with SCFG for 3 academic semesters now. I have had a wonderful time working with kindergarteners at the King Open School site and this past year working with second graders at Northeastern's site. Everyone at SCFG is passionate about science and children. It is very inspiring and rewarding to be part of such a positive organization.

Melanie10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered as a mentor scientists with SCFG a few semesters now and I love it! The girls in my club develop are eager to learn and they always have a good time. My junior mentors are developing all kinds of skills that will be useful as they graduate middle or high school and figure out what they will be doing with their futures.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became involved in Science Club for Girls after meeting the Executive Director Connie Chung at an event that I do not recall otherwise. The design of Science Club for Girls is unique in that girls begin the program at a very young age and as the grow up with the program, they mentor younger girls as they continue their own research. This is how science works in the "real world" where being able to teach is as important as being able to learn. Teaching requires true understanding and also builds confidence which is useful in any field that the girls will eventually choose to pursue.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Science Club for Girls provides science mentorship for girls from kindergarten through 12th grade. This program focuses on girls who will be the first in their family to attend college and has 100% success at helping girls of color and girls who will the first in their family to attend college, gain college scholarships.

Science Club for Girls utilizes volunteers at all levels of its operation from placing scientists as roll models and volunteers to teach clubs, to using professionals in organizational development to advise the board on expansion models.

Alumni from this program are active volunteers as well and some have started new clubs.

This volunteer opportunity has also been personally gratifying and I have employed girls from the program in my after school math programs.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a scientist. I received my PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard Medical School in 2009. As one of only 4 women in my class I can personally attest to the dearth of women in science. Many believe that a path towards a scientific career is hindered by a woman's need to get married, start a family etc. But I couldn't disagree more. The reason more women do not become scientists is because there aren’t enough women mentors out there to tell us that science is NOT hard and that we can achieve whatever we set our minds to. I wish someone had told me that when I was 5 years old! Science Club for Girls does just that: a remarkable afterschool program for K-12 girls where real women scientists (PhDs, MDs, etc.), some of us right in the middle of our careers, take time out to become those mentors to these amazing girls.... and in the meantime do some cool science too! In addition, the program is also designed so that girls that finish the curriculum have a chance to get involved as teaching assistants; thereby feeding the mentor-student cycle, a critical part in building self-confidence and foster success. I am a strong believer that SCG (and other programs like it) will change the face of science. Go pink lab coats!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

SCFG is a great environment for girls organized in a way to engage girls with a lot of activities, that helps them to express themselves, learn science and explore their lives involving science. Girls take part in practical, hands on science activities, think and talk about science by sharing their results in a variety of different ways.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The SCFG is made truly wonderful by its staff. I am always eager to attend their events and see for myself the difference they make in the lives of each individual/student they touch

14

Volunteer

Rating: 4

A great opportunity to get scientists to give back to the community. It raises awareness in among scientists of the challenges and rewards of bringing science to the public. This program should be a requirement for all young scientists interested in teaching one day.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My first impression of SCFG was one of awe and excitement. I had been asked to serve on a panel of corporate grantmakers with expertise in science education, which was followed by an afternoon of experiments led by the older girls for the younger girls who were enrolled in the Clubs. What impressed me most was how poised and confident the older girls were in teaching the younger girls, and in modeling behavior of learning, knowledge-sharing, and mentoring. That was in 1999. What continues to impress me is what these young girls and women are continuing to do as they successful apply, get accepted, and win scholarships to college. These are young women who never dreamed of going to college, and most of whom are the first from their families to aspire to do so. The impact is nothing short of inspirational, as other communities ask to start their own clubs, and as SCFG alumnae take initiative to start clubs in the communities where they are attending college. I am humbled by the amazing dedication of the Clubs' founders, board leaders, and incredibly talented staff. It is a program I wished I could have had as a young woman, and am thrilled to be engaged with now!