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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Science Club for Girls

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Volunteering Oportunities

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

5 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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.

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.

Laureth C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Science education among girls is rare. From an early age, girls are discouraged by their peers and sometimes even their families from following a scientific path. As the grandparent of a girl who has a keen interest in science, I've been aware that her time is coming Grade school science classes can be dull and uninspired, teachers don't have enough resources to teach science in a fun and engaging way. Science Club for Girls can help fill that need as well as encourage girls like my granddaughter to study science and change the world for the better. With the knowledge that other girls like science too, many girls would have pursued a career in science!


General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Science Club for Girls has afforded my daughter a highly valuable opportunity to experience science initiatives first hand, by offering hands on learning. A SCFG member since kindergarten--now a rising 7th grader; she is confident, determined and excited about exploring a career in forensic sciences. She's also developed friendships within the program-- friendships that are supportive, fun and proven longevity. SCFG consistently demonstrates to young girls that potential is a steppingstone to exciting possibilities.