January Brings Action with STEM News at Girls Stem Collaborative (GSGSC)
Greetings from GSGSC! The Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative is the New Jersey initiative of the National Girls Collaborative Project, a program focused on providing high quality STEM activities to girls. Our primary goal is to strengthen the capacity of girl-serving STEM programs to effectively reach and serve underrepresented girls in STEM by sharing promising practice research and program models, outcomes, products and by connecting formal and informal educators, business and industry in order to maximize the resources that can positively influence our girls. 
As always, this newsletter is for you as members of the Collaborative. It can serve as a forum to promote events and to highlight the good work that you all do, so please let me know what is going on so we can include your program in upcoming issues.
In this issue:
  • An Immediate Call to Action! The ELIMINATION of Dedicated 21st CCLC Funding has been Proposed
  • Register Now for 2/5 Click2Science Virtual Conference
  • Due 3/12 New Jersey Afterschool/Summer Program Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO)
  • Got STEM? Let us Know How You're Supporting STEM or STEAM in Afterschool!
  • Creating a Makerspace By Doug Baldwin
  • Sign our petition to end the global gender technology gap today!
  • Boy, 13, builds Braille printer with Legos, starts company
  • Gathr Films is excited to present I Am A Girl
  • Check out NJ Makers Day: Community Engagement and more!
Mike MacEwan
Collaborative Lead, Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative
Click here to learn more

The draft ESEA reauthorization bill put forth by Senate HELP Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) last week would eliminate the stand-alone, dedicated 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) funding for afterschool, before-school and summer learning programs that currently reaches more than 1.6 million students through school-community partnerships. In addition, many of the programs in New Jersey offer great STEM opportunities to all youth!

We ask you, your staff, your school administrators, community partners, parents and older youth to call or email Senators Menendez and Booker immediately to tell them that 21st CCLC programs in NJ serve students and families with the greatest need, improve student's academic success and help support working families. Please see below for further details and contact information:

As the Chair of the committee, Senator Alexander's bill is a significant first step in the process of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which includes the 21st CCLC Program. We need your voices to explain the value and importance of maintaining separate federal funding for programs that support young people when school is out. Please urge our New Jersey Senators to weigh in against this proposal with their HELP committee colleagues. A very strong show of support is necessary and crucial to maintaining 21st out-of-school time hours.

Senator Menendez:
Website: www.menendez.senate.gov

One Gateway Center, Suite 1100
Newark, New Jersey 07102

973.645.0502 (fax)

208 White Horse Pike, Suite 18
Barrington, New Jersey 08007

856.546.1526 (fax)

Senator Booker:
Website: www.booker.senate.gov

One Gateway Center
23rd Floor
Newark, NJ 07102

Phone: (973) 639-8700
Fax: (973) 639-8723

One Port Center
2 Riverside Drive, Suite 505
Camden, NJ 08101

Phone: (856) 338-8922
Fax: (856) 338-8936

You can also have an email created through the AfterschoolAlliance website by clicking here.

*Senate staff record all phone calls and emails in support of or against pending legislation. All of our voices must be heard right now - even if you are not currently working in a 21st CCLC program.

21st CCLC Programs in New Jersey:
  • Serve over 12,000 children, youth, and their families in more than 200 sites throughout the state.
  • Serve students and families from communities in the greatest need.
  • Do not turn away students based on ability to pay.
  • Help build stronger communities and engaging community partnerships.
  • Improve student academic success and social-emotional wellness. 
  • Help working families. 
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me -

National 4-H Council and Click2SciencePD have teamed up to provide a one-day virtual conference on Thursday, February 5, 2015, that will help 4-H professionals develop skills in facilitating professional development for volunteers and teen leaders, afterschool programs and other community partners. Click2SciencePD has created resources that 4-H professionals can use in many program areas.

Register now for the two sessions being offered during the one-day virtual conference:
We look forward to working with you to make #MomentsThatClick in your out-of-school time environments!

Click here to learn more!
Due 3/12 New Jersey Afterschool/Summer Program Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO)
Click here to apply

The New Jersey Department of Education, Office of Student Support Services, is pleased to announce the release of the New Jersey Afterschool/Summer Program Notice of Grant Opportunity (NGO).

You may view and download this NGO at: http://www.nj.gov/education/grants/gropps.shtml

Eligible agencies are limited to Public or Private youth serving organizations.

A technical assistance workshop will be held on February 12, 2015. 

Registration details are located in the NGO.

The New Jersey Afterschool/Summer Program is a state-funded grant program open to to national or statewide youth-serving organizations to expand existing afterschool/summer programs or to create new programs that offer high-quality, engaging out of school time (OST) activities to youth throughout New Jersey.

These programs will increase students' career and college readiness and increase positive student behavior while engaging parents through the provision of academic support and enrichment activities in at least one of the following areas: academic support, science, technology and math (STEM, career exploration and/or community service).

The target population is students between the ages of 5-18.

This is a sixteen (16) month grant program.

Applicants may apply for up to $250,000.
 Got STEM? Let us Know How You're Supporting STEM or STEAM in Afterschool!
Click here to get started

NJSACC knows that a lot of great things are being achieved through STEM education in afterschool programs, but we need to know more. Help us make a difference by pinpointing STEM activity taking place in your programs and let's find out what is being accomplished!

With that in mind, please take a moment and fill out our quick survey to express your interests in incorporating STEM or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) into your programs or how you are currently implementing STEM. Please note that programs that do not currently offer STEM are encouraged to complete the survey as well. We'd like to hear from all of you!

We encourage as many programs to respond as possible, whether or not you have strong involvement with STEM.

Thank you, in advance, for your help.

Click here to access the survey and begin!
The Piscataway Public Library is a two-branch library system located in central New Jersey, serving a population of approximately 55,000 residents. In 2012, staff from the library became familiar with the Maker Movement, a technology- and do-it-yourself-based culture that encourages hands-on building, constructing, tinkering, and experimenting.

This movement has been a key factor in the democratization of design and manufacturing that has been taking place all over the country. It has also highlighted the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in developing and innovating new products, as well as training a competent twenty-first-century workforce. It was through the lens of STEM education that staff at the library began to research and eventually initiate a makerspace to provide access to programs, equipment, and technology to support visitors of all ages in making, creating, and learning. Our space, branded as MIY (Make it Yourself), has been growing steadily since our makerspace grand opening in early 2013. This has included open hours for visitors to come and utilize the space and resources, monthly age-appropriate making programs, and a summer maker-camp for children in grades four through twelve.

While our library was fortunate enough to have the seed funding to create our space, our budget is certainly limited, as many other public and nonprofit programs. Because we strive to create programs where participants can take their creations home with them, we research and run many of our programs using low-cost or recycled materials to create things such as smartphone projectors, duct- tape speakers, glass jar lanterns, dry-ice ice cream, and much more. Likewise, we were fortunate to have our summer maker-camp funded this year by a grant from Cognizant called "Making the Future." This is a great funding opportunity to support afterschool and summer STEM programs, and Cognizant has announced that it will be tripling its funding for this grant project. Information on the grant is available at: http://www.cognizant.com/about-cognizant/company-overview/sustainability/educational-opportunity

We have used a variety of resources to help generate low-cost STEM project ideas to do with our kids and teens afterschool and over the summer. Among the Web-based resources we have and continue to use are:
In regard to delivering our programs, we have found that usually a group of eight to ten (with one facilitator) or up to fifteen (with two facilitators) is optimal when making physical projects. Furthermore, incorporating the following steps into our approach has worked best in providing a stimulating, fun, and educational environment for this type of programming:
  • Providing guidance, but allowing open exploration of the materials and the physical and mechanical design of their projects
  • Asking questions, instead of providing answers
  • Supporting their ideas when they go "off-script"
  • Encouraging them to share their ideas with other participants when they develop a new way to get something to work, or a unique way to solve a problem
  • Be less of an expert, and more of a facilitator
We work by the mantra of "success through failure" and "there is never one right answer." This is at the heart of the unstructured learning process that takes place in our programs as participants develop their abstract and critical thinking skills, planning and design skills, and self-confidence in the work they are performing. 

What we have also found is that expertise in STEM-related fields is not a requirement to facilitate these programs successfully. Certainly a willingness to be curious and learn new things is an asset; however, we have discovered that our ability to provide the right learning and creative environment has been the most important ingredient in running these programs successfully. If you are thinking of incorporating this type of activity into your program, our library is more than happy to assist in whatever way we can. 

Please feel to contact me via e-mail at: dbaldwin@piscatawaylibrary.org.

Written by Terence Chea

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - In Silicon Valley, it's never too early to become an entrepreneur. Just ask 13-year-old Shubham Banerjee.

The California eighth-grader has launched a company to develop low-cost machines to print Braille, the tactile writing system for the visually impaired. Tech giant Intel Corp. recently invested in his startup, Braigo Labs.

Shubham built a Braille printer with a Lego robotics kit as a school science fair project last year after he asked his parents a simple question: How do blind people read? "Google it," they told him.

Shubham then did some online research and was shocked to learn that Braille printers, also called embossers, cost at least $2,000 - too expensive for most blind readers, especially in developing countries.

"I just thought that price should not be there. I know that there is a simpler way to do this," said Shubham, who demonstrated how his printer works at the kitchen table where he spent many late nights building it with a Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit.

Shubham wants to develop a desktop Braille printer that costs around $350 and weighs just a few pounds, compared with current models that can weigh more than 20 pounds. The machine could be used to print Braille reading materials on paper, using raised dots instead of ink, from a personal computer or electronic device.

"My end goal would probably be having most of the blind people ... using my Braille printer," said Shubham, who lives in the Silicon Valley suburb of Santa Clara, just minutes away from Intel headquarters.

After the "Braigo" - a name that combines Braille and Lego - won numerous awards and enthusiastic support from the blind community, Banerjee started Braigo Labs last summer with an initial $35,000 investment from his dad.

Click here to read from this article's source.


There is a group of people in the world today who are more persecuted than anyone else, but they are not political or religious activists. They are girls. Girls are more likely to be subjected to violence, disease, poverty and disadvantage than any other group on the planet. 

I AM A GIRL, a feature length documentary, explores the challenges, strength and resilience of six girls, in six different countries and reveals what it means to grow up female in the 21st century.

Click here to bring this powerful film to your local theater today!


The National Girls Collaborative Project is collaborating with UN Women and will be joining this global campaign. Please distribute this to your networks as well. Watch our social media channels and distribute on your own as well.

Women and girls have the ability and ingenuity to ignite change - but will be limited in doing so unless they are equal players in science and technology. Right now, women around the globe are too often excluded from the global technology revolution. The result: more inequality, less innovation, and solutions that leave women out. 

Join UN Women and the Global Fund for Women to demand equal access to and control of technology for women and girls worldwide. Sign our petition to end the global gender technology gap today by calling on governments, regional institutions, and the United Nations to make sure women and girls are at the center of the science and technology revolution. 

The petition is part of IGNITE: Women Fueling Science and Technology, a global campaign and media project from Global Fund for Women, with UN Women as a major partner, explores the roles of science and technology in advancing gender equality. IGNITE features stories of women and girls who are leading and innovating in science, technology, engineering, and math, and highlights the gender gap in technology. Explore IGNITE to learn more about why technology is a women's human rights issue, and to get inspired by creative women and girls globally to #BeTheSpark and take action.

Click here to sign!


NJ Makers Day enhances community engagement and develop connections among New Jersey residents by collaborating with multi-type libraries, museums, small businesses and others to promote and explore new opportunities for entrepreneurship, innovation and hands-on learning experiences.


  • Celebrate the culture of making in New Jersey
  • Foster collaboration between makers and makerspaces across New Jersey
  • Host a program/event on the same day at all participating New Jersey makerspaces
  • Promote the role of NJ libraries in supporting makers and maker culture throughout the state
  • Schedule at least one event in every county in New Jersey
  • Contract with vendors based in New Jersey whenever possible
  • Create projects with low or no barriers of access, including one or two statewide projects live streamed
  • Create a Google Map of makers and makerspaces in New Jersey
Visit them on the web at: http://njmakersday.org
Michael MacEwan 
Collaborative Lead  
Garden State Girls STEM Collaborative