It’s 9:30am on the morning of April 15, 2016 and Carrie Raleigh, STEM Program Manager, is welcoming a group of students from Riverside and San Bernadino counties. She’s speaking to them at the STEM Student Success Center at Moreno Valley College (MVC).
Ms. Raleigh introduces the girls to a group of MVC science, technology and engineering students who take them on a tour of the science labs. Afterwards, the girls visit the MVC STEM Mobile Innovation Center – a mobile science laboratory that conducts a wide range of experiments with the kids.
STEM-To-Go is a part of ImagineYour STEM Future, a collaborative effort between Time Warner Cable and the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council’s award-winning Classroom To Career program, where middle and high school students gain insight into careers through behind-the-scenes tours.
The new STEM-To-Go component will offer engaging, hands-on projects and career exploration activities for girls 5 to 17. And the program isn’t limited to classroom field trips. STEM-To-Go is literally that – portable, easy-to-use kits that will introduce girls to engineering and science. San Gorgonio Girl Scouts will soon be able to borrow these kits from their Council offices (much like a library check-out system) and take them home to explore, brainstorm and design numerous projects – all at no cost.
Iris Duran, Community Investment Manager at Time Warner Cable’s Southern California division, attended the event.
“Our company’s philanthropic initiative began five years ago with $100 million to connect a million minds.We wanted to inspire at least one million children to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math. We have the pleasure of connecting with local community partners, such as the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council, to reach these goals,” said Ms. Duran.
It’s thanks to a $10,000 donation by Time Warner that GSSGC is able to develop programs like Imagine Your STEM Future and STEM-To-Go.
These programs are offering exclusive opportunities. “They are getting such a deeper look into what their world can be,” said Beth Denny, 7th Grade Counselor at Chemawa Middle School. She added, “I’ve noticed that in Riverside there is a huge focus on STEM for all kids, but this is very unique as it affects girls.”
Why middle school girls?
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, studies show that girls lose interest in math and science during middle school, and STEM interest for girls is low, compared to boys. By encouraging excitement and curiosity about science during this critical period of development, GSSGC is helping to bring a new generation of female professionals to the Inland Empire. Opportunities like these have proven successful in inspiring girls to dream big and helping them make more informed choices in their education.
Marcy Hartwell, female engineer for Time Warner, volunteered to speak to the girls at Moreno Valley College. She talked about her own personal journey into the world of engineering and encouraged them to pursue careers in the field. After her speech, there was time for a q&a session. Marcy asked the girls who they imagined themselves to be in the future.
A wide range of answers followed: engineer, veterinarian, doctor and photographer were just a few of the examples. Although not every girl at the event envisioned a life of science, Image Your STEM Future was still a success. The adults were eager to remind the girls that, no matter what career field they wish to enter, they each have the ability to imagine a future of success.