NEW YORK, June 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy) and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) today announced a joint Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) America Commitment to Action to raise $3 million for a program to provide middle school girls with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) role models and curricula activities. The announcement was made at the CGI America meeting in Chicago, hosted by former President Bill Clinton.
GSUSA and the Academy will blend two successful programs—the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and the Academy's Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program—for a nationally scalable STEM mentoring program for girls. Together, the two organizations will plan, design, and implement a program to place professional scientists and volunteers together with Girl Scouts to teach hands-on, inquiry-based STEM lessons. The partnership aims to address the significant science achievement gap for girls by providing mentors to help change girls' attitudes toward STEM-related careers by increasing engagement, interest, and confidence in STEM subjects.
"We're delighted to partner with the New York Academy of Sciences to expose more girls to STEM. What uniquely distinguishes STEM exploration via the Girl Scout program is a girl's ability to learn about how her expertise in STEM has the ability to help others," said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of GSUSA. "We know that in the years ahead, America will need three million more scientists and engineers, and that girls and young women are shying away from these careers, even though record numbers of them express interest. We need to work together and forge partnerships with organizations such as the New York Academy of Sciences to change this trend."
Dr. Meghan Groome, Executive Director of Education and Public Programs at the Academy, said: "Girls start to drop out of science fields at predictable time points, starting as early as fourth grade. The trend continues into adulthood, as evidenced by the fact that women hold only 24 percent of STEM jobs. This has serious implications for their participation in our increasingly knowledge-based economy, in which STEM skills translate to higher paying jobs in faster growing job sectors. Having a mentor is a proven strategy to help more girls stay in the STEM fields."According to the Girl Scout Research Institute study Generation STEM: What Girls Say about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math , though a majority of today's girls have a clear interest in STEM, they don't prioritize STEM fields when thinking about their future careers. In fact, the study found that:
- 74 percent of teen girls are interested in STEM subjects and fields of study;
- 81 percent of teen girls see themselves as "smart enough to have a career in STEM," yet only 13 percent consider it their number-one career option;
- girls say that they don't know a lot about STEM careers and the opportunities afforded by these fields, with 60 percent of girls interested in science and technology acknowledging that they know more about other careers than they do about STEM fields; and
- just 46 percent of girls know a woman in a STEM career.