What is STEMforGIRLS Club
For 2020-21 school year…
STEMforGIRLS Club is a new interactive province-wide community for girls to be Scientists, Technology specialists, Engineers, and Mathematicians. This extra curricular club focuses on the development of girls’ identities as competent learners of science and technology with motivation and interest to learn more.
Its goal is to create awareness of opportunities in STEM by offering interactive hands-on activities, skill development, and post-secondary exploration. We aim to empower girls with the information and self-confidence needed to pursue STEM careers.
Club activities are delivered both virtually and in person, and include a digital classroom, monthly activities, regional events, and a provincial conference.
Professional development opportunities and volunteer training will help ensure girls receive the best supports possible.
It is the blending of WRDC-Educational Resource Centre’s (ERC) STEMforGIRLS activities into a cohesive online program that will reach more female students than ever before. This program targets youth identifying as female or non-binary between ages 12 and 17 inclusive, with an anticipated 200 club members participating this year. Members will have the opportunity to graduate into the volunteer role of Junior Leader, so member engagement is cumulative.
The ERC Coordinator, together with role models and other volunteer champions, will provide fun and relevant content year-round. Every girl who has registered (with her parents’ consent) will receive activity kits that will create enthusiasm by connecting how their strengths and their interests lend themselves to STEM-related careers.
Monthly hands-on activities
STEMforGIRLS Club has no physical boundaries because of its virtual delivery and no real limit on how many chapters can be created across Newfoundland and Labrador. An expected 200 girls will receive materials each month to complete hands-on activities. Activities range from basic STEM experiments to more complex kits.
Female STEM professionals and post-secondary students will upload videos of themselves completing the activities and encourage the girls to similarly upload video commentary on their experience completing the project.
Chapters run by community champions can work collaboratively to complete projects at monthly meetings and discuss related careers. However, with the online community, the conversations never have to end. Girls learning in remote areas still can take part in the process.
In the years to come, when the pandemic has subsided and public health recommendations allow, the STEMforGIRLS Club members will get together to explore STEM, engage with role models face to face and empower each other.
With support of corporate sponsorship and funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), WRDC intends to bring these girls together for regional and provincial events.
Regional events will be held, when conditions allow, to strengthen the sense of the STEMforGIRLS community.
These are opportunities to engage more girls and are based upon successful past programing including Tech Tours, Coding with Rosie, Safety Relay, GUSTO, and Techsploration NL. The ERC Program coordinator will travel to each of the five provincial regions, facilitating two or more events per region, alongside professional development sessions for teachers and community leaders on topics such as:
- How Girls Learn
- Unconscious Bias, and
- Digital Engagement.
An evolution of the Techsplorer conference, this event will continue to offer STEMforGIRLS community building activities, post-secondary program tours, hands-on shop activities, panel discussions, and sponsor led activities. A virtual conference is being planned for 2021 to ensure we can reach a maximum number of girls in these unique times. Mail out activity kits and live-streamed discussions will engage girls over the course of this digital event series.
While the events come and go, “STEM Girls” will still have a place to be Scientists, Technology specialists, Engineers, and Mathematicians. It allows participants to connect with other girls interested in pursuing, to see themselves reflected in industry role models and to be curious about what STEMcareers await them. Our digital classroom aims to be that place every day of the year.
Given that STEM-based careers are highly diverse, the digital clubhouse is divided into sections so girls can connect their skills to specific STEM-careers. Each section outlines STEM-related careers, introduces associated female professionals, and then gives the girls activity suggestions to improve their skills; giving them both the inspiration and confidence to follow a STEM-career.
Getting Girls Involved
As the educators of this province, you could make a significant impact on the success of the STEMforGIRLS Club, with little effort. We would appreciate it very much if you could assist WRDC as we work to get this new and exciting initiative off the ground.
We understand that COVID-19 has created a very challenging school year and ask only that you:
- Forward this information to your colleagues (especially STEM-related or career development teachers), guidance counsellors, and parents,
- Encourage girls in grades 7 to 12 to visit the website stemforgirls.ca to get involved, and
- Display the attached poster in your schools and community organizations.
At this time, dedicated teacher-sponsors are not required for girls to get involved but is certainly encouraged. If you are interested in volunteering to be a local champion for a group of girls at your school, you can visit the website to learn more and sign up for updates. Our virtual event series will address several curriculum outcomes and we hope you will consider live-streaming events for your classes.
STEMforGIRLS Club is provided free of charge through the generous support of NSERC a variety of corporate sponsors, such as Husky Energy/Cenovus, NL Hydro and Equinor.
P.O. Box 21157
St. John's, NL
Canada A1A 5B2