Encouraging Local Girls to Pursue Science & Math

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All are invited to the McLean Area AAUW October 23 Program, 7 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue) on How We Can Make a Difference in Local Girl’s Education and Future Careers! Fairfax County leaders in the areas of STEM, GEMS, and MAGiC are the featured speakers! These acronyms all relate to efforts designed to motivate girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math – the four areas that are referred to collectively as STEM.

Naomi Sweet, Advanced Academic Resource Teacher at Chesterbrook Elementary School in McLean, will tell us about the GEMS programs – Girls Excelling in Math and Science – and other related programs that she has implemented at Chesterbrook. GEMS Clubs for 5th and 6th grade girls were started in Fairfax County in 1994 to expose girls to the fun and excitement of STEM fields. Naomi was thrilled to introduce these programs as a way of encouraging students, especially girls, to pursue their dreams to become whatever they wanted to be. Naomi will explain the current Chesterbrook programs and describe a typical GEMS session.


Next, Billie Feldhaus will talk about the new GEMS Club that she is starting this school year at Haycock Elementary School. Billie, a parent who was familiar with GEMS at Chesterbrook, took the initiative to work with members of the Haycock administration and faculty to get this GEMS program approved. The Haycock GEMS Club for 4th and 5th grade girls will be meeting on most Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m.  Volunteers as speakers or as meeting assistants to help at just one meeting or multiple meetings are being sought.  Billie will tell you how you can support the program and become involved.


Finally, Elizabeth Vandenburg, an AAUW Reston-Herndon Branch member, is co-leader of MAGiC – the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative. MAGiC is a coalition of corporate, educational, and nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting girls involvement in STEM that is funded by the National Science Foundation. Elizabeth and two branch partners received an AAUW Community Action Grant in 2001 for producing an award-winning video, “Tech Savvy Girls,” which received a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to be disseminated nationally and translated into Spanish. Elizabeth also serves as the DC/MD/VA liaison to the AAUW STEM Task Force, which concerns itself with the dissemination of AAUW-created and sponsored STEM education programs. She will discuss her involvement with STEM activities and provide additional ideas for how you can participate in encouraging area girls to pursue STEM-related education and careers.

Contact: Mary Ellen at 703-790-5550.


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