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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

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kai L.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has attended SCFG since she was in kindergarten ( 3 years) and it has been the best experience. She loves it and learns so much. The experiments are fabulous and it fills a missing gap in her education. I recommended it to all my friends with girls. It's a quality program.

Racquel M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter has enjoyed every science experiment. It was a great learning expereince that has increased her passion about Science.

Maria-Veronica B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Girls Science Club attends the needs of curious, engaged girls. They nurture the love and curiosity for learning and encourage little girls to follow paths that are still perceived as masculine and male dominated. The older girls who have outgrown the program come back to lead younger girls. What a powerful thing for a teenager that to be the guide for someone else. The little girls look up to these kids and learn that learning is a cool thing. I believe GSC is doing something great and I wish more girls could get involved in the program.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter and I came to know the 'Science Club for Girls' at a Lego-Robotic-Competition. My then 9-year-old daughter was the only girl in her team and her (male) teacher - while all in all supportive - seemed to prefer the boys. She was so thrilled talking to the young women from the 'Science Club for Girls'. They patiently answered all of her questions and encouraged her to keep on doing what she was exited about despite being in the minority as the only girl among boys.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Science Club for Girls is a magical group. My daughter believes in herself every day she comes home. It is so empowering for her to women and girls of color playing intelligent, capable, and inspirational roles. She has enjoyed sleepovers at the Boston Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium. I tell as many parents of girls about this program as I can.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Our 5 year old daughter has been introduced to Science in a playful, fun and educational manner and in a setting that she obviously loves. She is sharing basic things that she's learnt with us and will probably always see science as an interesting and fun topic that should she wish to pursue it, it completely accessible to her.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Science Club for Girls is my daughter, Melanie's favorite out of school program. She looks forward to the mentorship provided by the effervescent staff and to connect with the girls in her group. Since joining SCFG my daughter is excited to learn and not afraid to challenge herself mentally. I've even seen her knowledge transfer into her regular school experience. And I can rest easy knowing that my daughter won't be scared of science the way her momma was!

Client Served

Rating: 4

My daughter has been involved with SCFG for 8 years (since kindergarten). I remember being so impressed that at 6 she understood the concept of representing data in a bar chart. It was so far beyond the first grade curriculum in her school. Over the years, she has had hands on experience with all kinds of science experiments, met and learned from a wide range of women scientists, and had the benefit of seeing all kinds of girls interested and engaged in science. This is the type of program that should be available to all girls everywhere!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Elizabeth Thomas and my daughter Dominique completed her first session with Science Club for girls. she truly is fascinated by all things science and with the big push to encourage girls to get interested this has been the perfect avenue for her. She is looking forward to the Science club for girls camp this summer and all the fun things she will continue to learn. This truly has been an eye-opening experience that has planted seeds and further increased her desire to want to get involved in the world of science. What a lovely opportunity this is for her and for all the girls who particpate.

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

SCFG is an outstanding free program that gives young girls starting at Kindergarten level an opportunity to get acquainted with Science in a hands-on, fun, attractive and challenging way. My daughter enjoyed all the activities as a student since she started as a 3rd grader and last year, as a 7th grader, she loved to participate as a Junior Mentor. The SCFG experience developed and strengthened her understanding and learning of the scientific processes and her confidence and potential in a field that certainly could be intimidating in the regular school setting.

7

Client Served

Rating: 5

Science Club for Girls gives girls an opportunity to explore science in a way that is challenging and engaging, while being mentored by older girls and adult women scientists. For my 9 year old daughter, who has always been interested in science and engineering, it gives her a chance to experience success in something that she loves. SCFG is great for all kinds of girls, but for our daughter, who is not interested in some of the more traditional after school activities for girls, it has been a unique and wonderful experience.