Christina Horner: My kindergartener wants to be an engineer March 7, 2012Posted by Science Club for Girls in Guest Blog, Parents speak.
Tags: Education, girls, parent, science education
I have had the benefit of working in the field of education for approximately 2 decades. I have been a teacher, administrator, consultant, advocate, and most importantly the proud and dedicated mother of a daughter of color. In my professional life, I have seen firsthand the significant disparities in resources, as well as the devastating effects of low (or no) expectations for girls, particularly girls of color, in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). I have also witnessed the low priority that is placed on science education. Many schools, even in the most affluent of communities, provide limited science instruction or professional development opportunities for teachers in elementary schools. Ultimately, the children suffer, particularly those from underserved populations.
As a result, I resolved to combat this injustice by providing my daughter with as many meaningful opportunities in these areas that span beyond the school day. Science Club for Girls (SCFG) has played a crucial role in achieving this goal. SCFG provides an amazing curriculum that gives girls opportunities to experience science together as a team, apply what they have learned to real life situations and encourages them to take risks.
Equally impressive is SCFG’s commitment to providing ongoing support to families by giving them a myriad of resources to support scientific thinking and inquiry for all their children, but particularly for their daughters. For instance, during the first parent meeting which took place in the fall, the program manager and a site committee member provided information about the upcoming USA Science and Engineering Festival to be held in Washington DC in the spring. Families were encouraged to not only attend, but were made aware of the tremendous benefit this could be to both girls and boys regardless of their ages. In addition, she provided information regarding other activities in the area, hotel accommodations and even a family budget to assist with planning.
Years ago, and prior to the birth of my daughter, I recall hearing about Science Clubs for Girls at Myrtle Baptist Church. I remember thinking about what a magnificent opportunity for girls it is and began sharing this resource with the students I served during the academic year, as well as other friends. In 2005, I experienced the joy of giving birth to my only daughter. Soon, I began counting down the years, months and finally the day when she could eventually participate. That day finally arrived in 2011.
I enjoy seeing the excitement in her eyes and the stride in her step when she jumps out of the van each week and bursts into the program doors. The strong ties she is developing with the other SCFG participants is evident in the positive manner she speaks about them regularly. Amazingly, I have yet to hear a complaint. When the session is over, the level of detail she provides about the various team projects and their results has been astounding. Most impressive is her newfound sense of confidence as well as delight for science topics. She not only enjoys the weekly and in depth science lessons, but sharing what she knows with friends and family members. I have no doubt that SCFG would have a profound effect on my daughter academically.
She has looked forward to each and every class since she began. Recently, she stated that she plans on attending “for the rest of my life” and confidently states “I LOVE SCIENCE CLUB FOR GIRLS!”