Thanks to a grant, tween and teen female members at The CLUB, the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri’s downtown site, are learning what it takes to be a girl with a career in a STEM field.
The American Association of University Women recently awarded the Club a $2,000 Community Action Grant that will supplement the costs of running STEM Girls! a girls-only science program. In addition to taking part in hands-in science, technology, engineering and math experiments, girls in the program will also learn from women in real-world STEM professional fields.
“Often, girls are scared to be part of a STEM program because they’ve been taught that science and math are for boys, that they aren’t smart enough. Well that’s not the case at our Club,” said Site Manager Vicki Hart. “Each week our girls are able to join together as a group and learn about the interesting world of STEM.”
STEM Girls! members recently took an educational field trip to the State Fair Community College chemistry lab, where they learned about and took part in hands-on science experiments. SFCC Chemistry Adjunct Instructor Shayna Burchett, along with two of her female students, spoke to Club members about a career in the sciences as well as goals they had for their own careers.
At the end of the trip, Club members presented Burchett with a honorarium speaking fee and thanked her for giving up her time.
“The honorarium fees are especially important for this program,” said Communications Coordinator Emily Jarrett. “We wanted to show our Club members that these professional women’s time was important and they deserved to be compensated for their work. It’s a small fee but it makes a big impact on the girls.”
“We are so grateful to AAUW for this opportunity,” Hart added. “It makes a real difference that we can go out into our community and show the girls that not only do these careers exist – they can be part of them.”
AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of women’s education, awarding more than $100 million in fellowships, grants and awards since its inception in 1888.