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Aspiration in Computing Award for female high school students July 11, 2010

Posted by Connie Chow in For parents, Non-SCFG programs.
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Know a high school girl that wants to be like Barbie? I mean, the newest computer engineer Barbie, of course. If so, then you should nominate her for this Aspiration in Computing Award  from the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), a wonderful organization that seeks to change the face of technology by encouraging more young women to enter and stay in the computing professions.

Massachusetts will be giving out the inaugural regional affiliate award in November to recognize young women who demonstrate talent in computing and who have the desire to pursue higher education in the field of IT.

NCWIT doesn’t stop there. They also work hard to change the climate of the workplace so young (and not so young) women would feel welcome and thrive in their chosen career. And so it should be.

Nomination deadline is October 15th. Detailed nomination information here. Official online nomination form is here. Bay State residents can mail inquiries to macaa@itasoftware.com.

Good luck!! And no, you don’t have to look like Barbie to win.


What Scientists Look Like July 4, 2010

Posted by jburnstein in For parents, From the media.
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From the Boston Sunday Globe. July 4, 2010. Yes, old news, but…

The male dominance of many scientific fields troubles educators, as does the widespread notion that science is for off-the-charts geniuses only, or social misfits. A study of the impressions that middle-school kids have of scientists shows how deep such stereotypes run and how soon they take hold. (The research isn’t new–it dates to early last decade–but it attracted fresh attention after Geek Feminism Blog highlighted it.)

In the study, 31 seventh-graders were asked to describe and sketch a typical scientist. Then they visited Fermilab, the applied-physics facility in Batavia, Ill. After a tour and meetings with actual lab employees, they repeated the exercise.

The study testifies to the power of the geek trope: The ”before” sketches have a definite mad-scientist vibe, in contrast to the ”after” pictures, which depict more or less ordinary looking folks.

Another striking contrast:

■Among girls (14 in total), 36 percent portrayed a female scientist in the ”before” drawing, and 57 percent portrayed a female scientist in the ”after” drawing.

■Among boys (17 in total), 100 percent portrayed a male scientist in the ”before” drawing, and 100 percent portrayed a male scientist in the ”after” drawing.


Everybody LOVES Science! May 13, 2010

Posted by Connie Chow in Events, For parents.
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That’s what you would think if you saw the 460 plus smiles and figurative light bulbs popping at high speed at our year-end celebration and showcase last Saturday, which also is a tribute to National Lab Day.

Girls and their fab mentors

How come? They were awed by the human body as they peered down a microscope, created a toy that exploits the persistence of vision, or examined their own hip or foot anatomy. Parents and children stepped up to the challenge of building the tallest paper cup tower or building a Menger sponge. (I didn’t know what that was either).  Mentors and girls helped participants explore the earth and beyond through models of volcanoes, oceanic planktons, and were even treated (for me at least) to an actual fish dissection. These are but a few of the almost 50 stations to choose from. Discovery channel, move aside. Nothing beats a hands-on experience.

Scientists from Millenium explain cancer cells

Not that excellent science/engineering shows for kids don’t have their place. They do. And they’re popular. The audience was certainly “star struck”, to quote one parent, by Bethany, Liza and Talia from FETCH! and our very own Avianna and Miranda who are on the new PBS show SciGirls that will be aired on WGBH this July. If the desire to be a rock star of science and engineering is what it takes to motivate girls in these areas, please let’s have more of them, and more auditions!

For those who can’t wait, you can check out their video, Star Power, online here. Kids and parents were delighted to try out the helicopter activity from FETCH! and I’m sure most have run home to add their own project to the SciGirls website.

Draper engineers show off non-invasive glucose nanosensors

Thank you so much to Microsoft NERD Center for hosting the event, WGBH for arranging to have Juan from Design Squad and the girls from FETCH! join us, and for the folks from tpt National Productions and WGBH for helping us out with the media. Thanks to scientists and engineers from Draper Labs, Amgen, Girls Angle, Parts & Crafts, Millennium, MIT for sharing your very cool activities and exhibits, and the volunteers who helped at the event. And thanks to all the businesses that contributed raffle items. You made some families very happy!

We were so happy that girls from Cambridge, Boston, Lawrence, Newton were represented, and even our mentor from Fitchburg came! What an amazing Science Club for Girls family to behold.

And as always, our deepest gratitude to the hundred-plus mentor-scientists who volunteered your time and showed your devotion to this cause this semester, this year, and in the past. Science Club for Girls can’t exist without you!!

Hope to see more of you next year!!

P.S. Here’s the Science Club does Lady Gaga video you were looking for. (This didn’t prompt a donation…)

P.P.S. If you have photos to add to our collection, please click here to email photos to us.

P.P.P.S. If you took home a science kit, click here for the instructions.

P.P.P.P.S. Thanks to our raffle item donors


Sense of Wonder Contest April 13, 2010

Posted by Connie Chow in For parents, General, Non-SCFG programs.
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To honor the late preservationist and ecologist Rachel Carson, the EPA, Generations United, and the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., are holding a photo, essay, and poetry contest “that best expresses the Sense of Wonder that you feel for the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes.”

In her book The Sense of Wonder (written in the 1950s and published in a magazine in 1956), Carson used lyrical passages about the beauty of nature and the joy of helping children develop a sense of wonder and love of nature.

Maximum award: publication on the websites of EPA Aging Initiative, Generations United, and Rachel Carson Council, Inc.

Eligibility: entries must be joint projects involving a person under age 18 and a person age 50 or older.

Deadline: June 16, 2010.

Click here for more information.

April/May Science & Math Activities April 9, 2010

Posted by Connie Chow in Events, For parents, Non-SCFG programs.
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All of these events support President Obama’s initiative to improve science education throughout the country.  President Obama recently established National Lab Day, which will be celebrated on May 12.  The nationwide initiative aims to build local communities of support to foster ongoing collaborations among volunteers, students, and educators. The events below are examples of just this sort of collaboration.

Saturday, April 10
1) “Show Me the Science!” fair
When: 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.
Where: Simmons College Alumnae Hall,  321 Brookline Avenue, Boston
Who: All girls from kindergarten through 6th grade and their families

What: Various groups of professionals and students from science, technology, engineering, and math companies and university departments will provide engaging demonstrations or hands-on activities.  Girls will travel in groups from booth to booth, learning about science along the way.

Registration: call the Science Club for Girls at (617) 391-0361, and select Option 7.

Co-sponsors: Big Sisters of Greater Boston and the Simmons Institute of Leadership and Change.

2. S.E.T. in the City (Science, Engineering, Technology)
When: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Where: Boston University Photonics Center and will end at the Boston Museum of Science.  What: Attendees will participate in hands-on science activities, listen to professional speakers, and learn how to prepare for careers in science, engineering, and technology fields.

Registration: SOLD OUT. To receive information about next year’s event and other programs, become a fan of the Collaborative: http://tiny.cc/BostonGirlsSTEMFBGp

3. “Bring Your Grandma to Math Day”
When: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.
Where: MIT Museum

What: The event aims to bring together multiple generations to engage in math activities.  Several local math enrichment programs will be represented, including Girls’ Angle, The Math Circle, The Mathemagics Workshop, and Sprout Creative Math.

Admssion: Please e-mail mathday@thesprouts.org to obtain a flyer.  Print out the flyer, write in the number of guests, and bring the flyer to the event to enter the museum for free.  The suggested donation for entrance is $15.

Saturday, April 17. The Massachusetts Academy of Sciences’ Annual Meeting
Where: Boston Museum of Science at 1 Science Park in Boston
When: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM.

What: The keynote speaker for the adults will be award-winning science writer Carl Zimmer, while the keynote speaker for the children will be noted Massachusetts science educator Science Bob. Animals, hands-on exhibits, admission to the MoS.

Registration: free for members of the Massachusetts Academy of Science and is $30 for non-members.  http://www.massacadsciences.org.

Saturday, April 24. Science Carnival! Opening day of the week-long Cambridge Science Festival
When: 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Where: Cambridge Public Library, located at 449 Broadway in Cambridge.

What: Among the events scheduled for the opening day are Exploring Robotics Engineering, for kids ages 7-18, and Wires, Buzzers, and Lights — Hands-on Circuit Construction. Science Club for Girls will also be at the Tot Lot with Science of the Playground

The week-long science festival will hold various events in locations around Cambridge. For the full schedule of events, please visit http://www.cambridgesciencefestival.org.

Saturday, May 8. Everybody Loves Science!

When: 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Where: Microsoft NERD Center at 1 Memorial Drive in Cambridge.

What: Roam and Explore–Interactive demos from professional scientists and engineers as well as girls’ projects that they have worked on throughout the semester.

Meet the Rock Stars of Science–Attend an interview with three of SCFG’s participants who appeared in WGBH’s Fetch and  PBS’s SciGirls.

Who: Everyone is invited.

Tickets: Register here. Suggested donation: $10 per person, $5 per person for limited-income families.  SCFG members  and low-income families attend free of charge.