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We have retired this blog. July 21, 2012

Posted by Science Club for Girls in General Post.
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Click here to find our new blog and check out our website!

Of course, there’s still a lot of interesting content here, so feel free to explore!

Rachel O’Sullivan and Healthy Living May 16, 2012

Posted by Science Club for Girls in Alumnae, General Post.
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Rachel O’Sullivan joined Science Club for Girls as a kindergartener and is one of the initiators of the Junior Assistant (now Junior Mentor) program. She also founded our Ghana program. She graduated from Smith College with a degree in health education. She is also a certified doula. She was recently profiled in Teen Voices as a Leading Lady (http://www.teenvoices.com/2012/03/27/osullivan-leading-lady/).

Hello to all at SCFG and their fans! As some of you may know, I am an alum of the program, a daughter of the co-founder and was extremely involved with the start of the international partnership that SCFG has formed with a women’s non-profit in Ghana. Since it has been some time since my involvement with SCFG, I am more than pleased to give you all an update on my most recent adventures.

After my involvement in SCFG in High School, my focus shifted from the sciences and landed on anthropology, something I had been fascinated by since my travels in Ghana in high school. Despite my upbringing in a house where art and science were intimately linked, like most young Americans, I believed that people took two tracks, the “science track” and the “everything else track”. Since I had to be in one place to earn my BA instead of traveling the world, when it came time to pick a major, I decided to pick the “everything else track” where I at least could read about traveling the world. In doing so, my life in the sciences dwindled and the closest I came to the science world was moving my roommates’ lab notebook from my side of the room to hers.

As I studied anthropology and continued to travel, I became aware of a problem with seeing the world as the sciences VS everything else. In the summer between my first year and second year of college, I traveled to Tanzania where I worked closely with nurses and an OBGYN to create a program allowing women access to health information and health care resources, (more…)

Thoughts from Women to Watch celebration May 15, 2012

Posted by Connie Chow in Executive Director Musings, General Post, women in science.
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It was such an exceptional experience (though it shouldn’t) to be in a roomful of highly accomplished women. It was certainly an honor for me to be recognized as a woman to watch by Mass High Tech, amidst CEOs, principal investigators and leads of biopharma, technology and engineering endeavors. It is to Mass High Tech and the selection committee’s credit to recognize that STEM education, even informal education, as squarely a field within science, technology and engineering.

Awardees’ stories were inspirational and instructive (we were told to share advice as if with a sixth grader). Risk taking, perseverance, hard work, finding passion were major themes.

I share mine below.

A: Art is just as important as science.
B. Beautiful experiences are worth hoarding. Beautiful things: worth a look, keep a few.
C. Curiosity keeps you from being cornered by boredom.
D: Dare to think and be different.
E: Eat for enjoyment. Food is a gift.
F: Fail with flair.
G: Goblins may be Outside Over There, but that’s the only way to grow (Note: Hat tip to Maurice Sendak who just passed away).
H. Heroes are ordinary people making themselves extraordinary. And remember, heroes holler and so can you.
I. Imagination is powerful. Imagine yourself full of power.
J. Jump for joy, for your own success and other’s, and for no reason at all.

Beth O’Sullivan and the Early Days of Science Club For Girls May 13, 2012

Posted by Science Club for Girls in Guest Blog.
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by Jennifer Sims, Ph.D.

Martin Luther King Jr. Open School was more than ready for science clubs. In 1994, when Beth O’Sullivan picked up her daughter Rachel from kindergarten, she received a query from the principal to all parents looking for a focus and feedback group on gender equity issues in the classroom. “How Schools Shortchange Girls,” the seminal study by the American Association of University Women, had been published not two years earlier, putting numbers to what educators, administrators, and parents had been observing for years, despite themselves.

“It was almost obvious,” says Beth, who was already running a private math tutoring program and saw signs of inequity in girls even younger than those in the AAUW study.

“We have this tendency to say a child ‘just isn’t good at math.’ But we don’t accept, except on rare occasions, that a child can’t learn to read.”

Beth teamed up with fellow parent Mary McGowan develop the ideas of the feedback group into a workable, targeted plan. They envisioned an all-female afterschool program that spanned first to eighth grade, encouraged and enlivened the learning of science before middle school, brought girls together with women mentors, and most importantly, was free.

The lofty goals were matched as much by their ambition as by the long-held traditions of activism and outreach at the King Open School. More than twelve years earlier, Dr. Robert Moses had used his grant as a MacArthur Fellow to guarantee the teaching of algebra in eighth grade there, and to initiate the redesigning of the curriculum to include experiential learning — using subway trips and lemonade stands to demonstrate concepts. His program, The Algebra Project has since become a national phenomenon, helping over 9000 socio-economically underprivileged students make the leap into higher levels of math.

“Thanks to Bob Moses and his efforts, there was already an assumption that parents could initiate something,” says Beth of the climate at King Open at the time.

With no administrative resistance, and a veritable tide of initiative, Beth and Mary set about implementing program logistics and gathering resources. “That was, right away, a part of the design,” Beth says of the choice to make the Clubs be single-sex and girls-only. “There’s a lot of research and data out there about the effect that has on learning, but for us it was automatic and natural.” Presently, she calls the all-girl strategy, “the single most successful aspect of the Clubs,” citing the fruitful mentor structure as well as the morale boost to the students: “The girls feel it’s for them — that it’s special that way.” (more…)

Future engineer visits the 2012 USA Science and Engineering Festival May 10, 2012

Posted by Science Club for Girls in Guest Blog, Non-SCFG programs.
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SCFG parent Christina Horner was determined to provide her daughter with as many meaningful science and engineering experiences as possible. Here’s her kindergartener’s perpective of the trip.

The USA Science and Engineering Festival was incredible!

I went with my daddy, mommy, brothers and my cousin, Kyle.  There were many people and many activities, like filling balloons with oobleck and fizzy stuff (mom’s note: sulfurate acid and baking soda), making a cannon and building towers with blocks.

My favorite activity was building a Simon.  A Simon is a lot like Simon Says.  You have to follow the colors on a little computer that doesn’t talk.  It was easy.  I used a circuit board, plastic fasteners, gaskets, lights, screws solder and a soldering iron.  It was VERY hot! A soldering iron looks like a screw and a pen, but instead when you put it to metal smoke comes out.  It makes the metal become glue.

The finished product

I can’t wait to go again!

–B

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