National Girls Collaborative Project

December 2011

 Building the Capacity of STEM Practitioners to Develop a Diverse Workforce

NGCP Updates  

Collaboration WebCollaboration Institute in Tucson, Arizona

On December 4-7, 2011, team members from new and renewing collaboratives met to learn how to effectively lead NGCP activities in their states. More than 40 individuals from 10 states were hosted by the Girl Scout Council of Southern Arizona. Participants engaged in multiple professional development sessions designed to assist them in their outreach and implementation efforts. These leadership team members will begin hosting collaborative events across the United States beginning in February. Watch this newsletter and the NGCP website for event details and for announcements about new collaboratives forming.  NGCP will be adding at least 6 new collaboratives during 2012.


Collaboration Conference Report Available

The National Girls Collaborative Project held the first national NGCP Collaboration Conference on October 20-22, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Over 150 participants engaged in meaningful networking and professional development activities, all focused on engaging more girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The goals of the event were to increase collaboration between local girl-serving STEM professionals and national level experts, increase access to research-based program models and resources, and to provide training and incentives to collaborate on a local, regional, and national level.

A summary document has been created, featuring conference highlights and descriptive information about the professional development sessions. View the webinar about the conference to benefit from the strategies and resources provided at the conference.


NGCP is hosting the 2012 National Collaboration Conference:  Advancing the Field through Collaboration, Capacity Building, and Equity during April 25-27, 2012 immediately preceding the USA Science & Engineering Festival. Registration will be available in late January.


To learn more about the Conference visit:

 Collaborative News  

Championing Change for Women in Science

On Friday, December 9, 2011,  NGCP was well represented at an event highlighting outstanding individuals who are working to increase the participation of women and girls in the STEM fields.  Barbara Bitters, Assistant Director for the Career and Technical Education Team at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, and member of the Wisconsin Girls Collaborative Leadership team was among the Champions of Change honored for their service.  Along with honorees, leadership team members from the Connecticut Girls Collaborative Project and the GRITS (Girls Raised in Tennessee Science) Collaborative Project, and a number of NGCP National Champions Board members participated in small group discussions and listened as each Champion participated in panel discussions which personalized the successes and barriers to broadening participation in the sciences.



NGCP Collaborative Mini-Grants  
NGCP mini-grants are designed to enhance access to and build collaboration between programs and resources. Mini-grant application resources, including a sample application, research based strategies, and evaluation requirements are available online at:


The New Hampshire/Vermont Girls Collaborative Project will open mini-grant applications on January 9, 2012. Mini-grants close February 15, 2012. 


Pacific Northwest Girls Collaborative Project: Project Splash Educator Training
Seattle, WA
January 23-27, 2012
This five-day training will introduce your organization to exciting new underwater LEGO™ robotics curriculum, exemplary practices in gender equity and engineering messaging, and strategies and tools for implementing a summer camp for high school girls. Project Splash educators will have access to online support and course management tools, curriculum and materials kits, and additional resource materials. After the training, your organization will receive guidance and support throughout the planning and implementation of your one-week robotics camp the following summer.


 Exemplary Practice Spotlight

The Exemplary Practice Spotlight for December comes from research recently published in the American Sociological Review focused on the reasons why female undergraduate engineering students leave engineering, conducted by Erin Cech, Brian Rubineau, Susan Silbey, and Carroll Seron.

One compelling finding from the research is female engineering students lack in 'professional role confidence'. Professional role confidence relates to believing in your ability to go out and become a professional engineer, and believing that being an engineer aligns with your interests and values.

The researchers suggest two main strategies for undergraduate programs to increase female students' confidence in this area, both of which have also shown to benefit K-12 girls:

  • Bring practicing engineers into the classroom.
  • Offer more directed internship opportunities for students to work with engineers on real-world engineering projects.

For K-12 girls, exposure to practicing engineers and other STEM professional role models helps to counteract negative stereotypes and facilitate the belief that women can succeed in these professions. Offering opportunities for K-12 girls to work on real-world STEM projects facilitates a better understanding of what STEM professionals really do, encourages critical thinking, and helps makes connections between interests and future careers.


 Featured Mini-Grant

Girls participating in an experiment.Futures Unlimited

A collaboration between Oakton Community College, the University of Illinois at Chicago's Women in Science and Engineering Program, and Northwestern University's Society of Women Engineers Chapter enabled approximately 325 eigth grade girls to attend the Futures Unlimited event. Participants heard from ten female role models, who shared their experiences in computer science, environmental conservation, biochemistry, and crime detection. Favorite activities included "Alternative Energy," in which the girls built a miniature solar-powered car, and "Squishy Circuits," using Play-Doh, wires, and batteries to build a circuit. Participants reported that they had a deeper understanding of various STEM careers and STEM programs.


 Upcoming STEM Events
Get Mapped with MOST Science
MOST-Science is conducting a nation-wide study that seeks to build a broad picture of the extensive activities in out-of-school-time science, technology, and engineering programming for youth. An online questionnaire asks program providers for details about who participates in their programs, the frequency and duration of youth participation, and what kinds of content and hands-on activities are being utilized. Your participation will highlight your organization, help identify common needs and challenges as well as contribute to a study that will inform funders, policy-makers, researchers, and other program providers about the work in this community and the needs that remain to be addressed.

eCYBERMISSION is a U.S. Army sponsored competition that is geared toward increasing students' interest and participation in STEM education. Open to students' in grades 6-9; the competition challenges students to think about real-world applications of STEM by working in teams to identify a problem in their community and applying the scientific method or the engineering design process to find a solution. Registration deadline: December 16, 2011.

Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE) 2012 International Conference
Clearwater Beach, FL
January 4-7, 2012
The ASTE 2012 International Conference is dedicated to continuing the professional growth and development of individuals who work in or have a strong interest in issues related to science teacher education at all grade levels. You do not need to be an ASTE member in order to present and/or attend.
National Conference on Girls' Education
Washington, DC
February 10-12, 2012
The inaugural National Conference on Girls' Education (NCGE) will bring together girls' schools (public, independent, and parochial), program leaders, practitioners, and researchers committed to the healthy intellectual, social, and emotional development of girls and young women. NCGE will shine the spotlight on some of America's top thinkers, educators, and practitioners by creating a forum for the exchange of transformational educational practice, the sharing of resources for working with girls, and best practices from all sectors of girls' education in America.
American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Winter Meeting 2012 (WM12)
Ontario, CA
February 4-8, 2012
This annual winter meeting will provide the opportunity to network, discuss innovations in teaching methods, and share the results of research about teaching and learning. The theme is "The Wave Nature of Light & Matter." California is known for its water waves and the WM12 will explore the physics of waves and entertainment.

Moody's Mega Math Challenge 

Moody's Mega Math (M3) Challenge is an online applied mathematics competition for high school students designed to motivate students to study and pursue careers in applied math, economics, and finance. The contest is sponsored by The Moody's Foundation and organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). Registration deadline: February 24, 2012.



2012 Kavli Science & Engineering Video Contest

Students, grades 6-12, are invited to submit entries to the 2012 USA Science & Engineering Festival Kavli Science Video Contest. Videos should explore the main contest theme," Save the World through Science and Engineering." Students should use their imaginations and investigative skills to tackle global challenges, explore new frontiers, and discuss the inventions that help mankind and improve life on our planet. Top entries will receive cash awards and the best videos will be shown at the Festival Expo April 27-29, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The first place winner will also receive a travel stipend to attend the Expo. Submission deadline: March 1, 2012.
National STEM Video Game Challenge
Inspired by the Educate to Innovate campaign, President Obama's initiative to promote a renewed focus on STEM education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America's youth by tapping into students' natural passions for playing and making video games. The 2011 Challenge features two competitions, a Youth Prize (grades 5-8) and a Developer Prize (open to emerging and experienced game developers). Deadline: March 12, 2012.
Boost Conference
Palm Springs, CA
April 25 - 28, 2012
The Boost Conference will include networking and teambuilding opportunities, workshops showcasing the latest trends and research in out-of-school time programming, and exhibitors sharing the newest resources, products, and services to enhance your programs.



4-H Science

The 4-H Science professional development tools and resources help prepare staff and volunteers to increase their ability to implement quality 4-H Science programs. These tools and resources are based on leading practices and are adaptable to other out of school time programs that incorporate science activities.


Digital Nation: Life on the Virtual Frontier

Digital Nation is an interactive website reporting on the digital revolution and how it is changing our lives. The website includes online Digital Workshops for parents and educators that provide opportunities to learn how to be a better parent, teacher, or caregiver to "digital natives" and gain the knowledge and skills for understanding, analyzing, and participating in our technology-infused world.


KIDS Aftershool

The KIDS Afterschool website covers a wide range of subjects including science, math, and engineering in ways that support learning during the school day. Activities are based on the philosophy that teaching children to talk together about learning experiences is as important as actually engaging in them.


Earth Exploration Toolbook

Earth Exploration Toolbook (EET), is a free online resource designed for students to develop data skills. Each activity, or chapter, introduces one or more scientific data sets and analysis tools that enable users to explore aspects of the Earth system.


STEM Connector™  

The STEM Connector™ serves as a network to link those advocating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education across disciplines and distances. Launched in November 2011, this website allows key players to discover partners within STEM education across the country, to provide contact points, and to create both national and multi-national platforms to share and network STEM strategies and activities. STEM Connector™ provides a way for those running STEM education systems to connect their ideas to improve STEM education on a national and international scale.

 Global Resources

International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES)

INWES is a non-profit international network connecting organizations with the common thread of supporting women in STEM by encouraging the education, recruitment, retention, support, and advancement of professional women and students. Through advocacy, special projects, and the exchange of information INWES has become an influential voice on STEM issues for the benefit of women, gender equity, and society.

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