RESTON, VA — The Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club Initiative, Nova Labs and the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative (MAGiC) have announced a new project: The Girl Makers of Northern Virginia.
“Nearly 51 percent of the U.S. population: women. Girls need to get in the pipeline, and Nova Labs is at the cutting edge 21st-century economic engine in STEM innovation spearheading this exciting project,” said Elizabeth Vandenburg, co-lead and outreach director of GEMS and MAGiC.
The Girl Makers aims is to promote girls’ interest in STEM by demystifying seemingly complex systems to build the confidence necessary to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers.
The project is funded by a $3,500 grant from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Innovation Fund ($1,000) and the Moore Family Foundation ($2,500) and builds upon two “Take Apart” sessions held at Nova Labs this past year.
“We provide the interesting electronic items, the tools and the space, and the girls provide the elbow grease and the enthusiasm,” said Brian Jacoby, Nova Labs president. The goal, he says, is to inspire tinkering and to feed girls’ natural curiosity. “This new funding will allow us to strengthen and expand the program,” Jacoby added.
Founded in 1994, the GEMS Club initiative is an after-school effort to get third through eighth grade girls exposed to the fun and wonder of STEM. Started at Clearview Elementary School by volunteers and teachers, the GEMS Club now has 35 clubs across Fairfax County Public School. The program expanded at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago, Ill.
The Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative (MAGiC) brings together organizations throughout Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC that arecommitted to informing and motivating girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Led by the Women in Engineering Program at the University of Maryland, leaders from industry, academia and philanthropic organizations are working together to serve on the MAGiC Leadership Team and Champions Board, ensuring that girls and young women are effectively served in STEM. The Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative Project is based upon a model developed by the National Girls Collaborative Project, and replicated through a grant from the National Science Foundation.