Girls Empowerment S.T.E.M Initiative

A Peacemaking Project by Jacqueline M.

What is the injustice we are solving?

I host Girls STEM events to teach young low income girls about STEM since only 29% of the STEM workforce is female. I want to do my part to not only expose these girls to the wonderful world of STEM but let them know they can do anything. I also have inspiring female speakers talk to the girls about doing well in school and staying positive. I also peak to the girls about Anti-Bullying and about appropriate social media behavior.

Our Compassionate Solution:

To solve this injustice of A lack of women, especially women from low-income communities, in the STEM field
we will address The lack of STEM engagement available for young children
by Engaging girls in STEM at a young age by hosting my Girls Empowerment STEM Events, listening to empowering females who currently work in fields that involve STEM, and doing hands on science experiments, including making slime and elephant toothpaste

Our Project Plan:

Goals

  • Since I have already hosted about 3 events already I know what to expect. I work with a community center so I always invite the local children I already work with to my events. I try to raise funds for my events as the materials are a bit expensive
  • I invite local politicians to my events to see that support is needed and how worthwhile my cause is.

We will increase my / our compassion by...

Talking with the girls about giving back to their communities, not being bullies and being kind to one another.

How will you show courage?

I show courage by letting the girls know that I am passionate about getting girls involved in STEM and that planning my Girls STEM Empowerments isn't easy but I am not happy with the fact that only 29% of females are in the STEM workforce and even a smaller percentage is females so I am doing my part to hopefully raise that number.

How will you collaborate with others?

I invite local politicians to my events so they can see its trul worthwhile and they see the children in action gaining hands on experiments. I also invite females that are currently working the fields of STEM to inspire the girls that they can do it also.

How will you know you are moving in the right direction? (What are specific ways you can measure your impact?)

I know I am moving in the right direction because I have held several of these and people keep asking me when I will host more of them. However, due to not having funds I cannot do the events as often as I would like to.

Key Steps

  • Invite girls from the local community center to attend the events
  • Try to raise more funds so I can continue to make a positive impact on the girls in my community

Reflection:

How did the project deepen your team's understanding of the injustice?

The injustice for my Girls Empower STEM Initiative is that there is as a lack of representation of women from low income communities in the STEM field. By hosting my event and speaking with the girls about Alexa Irene Canady who was the 1st African-American medical doctor specializing in neurosurgery they could see that STEM can be a career for them. We also spoke about all the ladies from the Hidden Figures books and did really cool Science experiments.

How did your community change as a result of your project?

Many of the girls were surprised that Science could be so much fun. The girls kept saying " this is so cool" and " I didn't know that I could make that". It was so nice to see their faces when we did the experiments and they saw the chemical reactions changing before their very eyes.

How many people were impacted by your project?

15

Explain how you came up with the number of people impacted by the project?

I went to the local community center to the experiments and to speak to the girls about STEM.

How did your team learn more about the people affected by the injustice?

We saw the girls that were from the local community center and they never had access to this type of programming and had never seen Science in a fun way before. It was nice to give back to my community and expose the girls to STEM.

What did your team learn?

We learned that the girls were so grateful for the opportunity to be apart of this and we defintely need to more events to encourage more girls to pursue STEM.

What challenges did your team overcome?

We didn't face any challenges.

How have you involved others in designing, carrying out, or expanding this project?

We are going to try to host another event in August and involve for people from the community as well as invite entrepreneurs, and local politicians. We are reaching out to people to help design the event in August and try to recruit volunteers.

What advice would you give to someone starting a peacemaking project?

I would say to make sure you are passionate about it and it will show when you carry out your project. Also, to make sure its well planned, take lots of pictures.

Our Updates:

Girls Empowerment S.T.E.M Initiative

Jacqueline M. 31 May 2018 22:08 I held another Girls Empowerment STEM Event. We talked about black women role models in STEM fields. We did really cools Science experiments and the girls were very happy because they never saw experiments like that before.

Comments:

RaulPF C.
26 December 2017 10:01

Thanks for sharing your project, Jacqueline. I felt very inspired by the work you are doing. Where are you needing help the most at the moment? How can we help? If you haven't, you can check your project dashboard on this link: https://www.peacefirst.org/projects/girls-empowerment-stem-initiative/dashboard

Fish S.
31 December 2017 19:08

Jacqueline, sounds like you're doing really awesome work -- not just to expose young girls to STEM but to build their confidence and self-image more generally. Really amazed by your work!

What are you planning on taking on in 2018? How can we help you meet your goals?

Kelsey T.
26 March 2018 16:21

Hi Jacqueline! I’m part of the Peace First team and wanted to provide you with Feedback for your Compassionate Insight. We provide insight feedback to help teams further strengthen their ideas as they head into the plan phase.

First of all, what a wonderful project idea! I see a clear logic in your project -- by hosting STEM Empowerment events you can transform the relationship that girls have with STEM while building their confidence in their abilities - which in turn can address the lack of representation of women in the STEM field. Your events sound great!

One thing that would make your insight stronger is to rephrase some of the language to help others follow your logic a bit more easily. You've listed "Build Girls Self Confidence and have them get interested in STEM" as the injustice -- but that is actually one of the goals of your project, rather than the injustice that you want to change, right? From your project description, it sounds like you've identified the injustice as a lack of representation of women from low income communities in the STEM field, right?

Once you change the language you use to describe the "injustice," in the second part of the Insight we're hoping for you to list a ROOT CAUSE of that injustice that you see your project as helping to change. What are the reasons that women are less represented in STEM? Why is that especially true for women of low income backgrounds? It sounds like you might have identified some of those root causes as being around a lack of opportunities to engage in STEM at a young age and develop confidence in STEM, for example

I'd encourage you to re-write your insight to help everyone understand -- you're nearly there and from what I can tell you've done some good thinking about this before!

These tools might help as well:
https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-2-problem-and-solution-trees
https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-4-compassionate-insight

Keep up the good work! I'll be in touch about your mini-grant application soon, as well.

Jackie A.
4 April 2018 11:04

Congratulations! Your project has been selected to receive a Peace First Challenge mini-grant. We will be in touch soon with details about this payment.

The mini-grant process is also a space for you to get feedback on your peacemaking project. We hope you will use this feedback to further strengthen your project. Please see the feedback on your mini-grant below.

Strengths: First off - your project is really amazing and such a fun take on not only being educational but truly inspirational for young females. I love the fact that not only do you host STEM related events, but that you also invite various female speakers in who can speak to overcoming gender and cultural barriers. Additionally, bringing in local politicians is a smart move. Overall I think that your desire to pull more young girls into the world of STEM is amazing, and definitely an option that is needed to set young women on academic paths early on.

Things to Consider: There are a few areas where I see room for improvement in your project. First: Have you considered broadening your list of guest speakers? I think that bringing in women in the STEM field is on brand and you should continue this, but perhaps think about inviting entrepreneurial women in other fields who can speak to disadvantages they've over come in their personal / professional life. This could be someone from the community who has their own business, women who can speak to self love and acceptance, or who can speak about empowerment and bullying. I think that you have a real opportunity to create a space not only about access to STEM but about overall female empowerment. Secondly: You should give some thought as to the age range you are targeting. It was a bit hard to tell from you project itself and I think that really honing in on this will allow you to offer a more robust curriculum. Third: I would expand your network of resources by reaching out to local schools who may host after school science clubs - think about reaching out to passionate teachers who could donate supplies for you to borrow or who could come in to speak and help you draft experiments. Lastly: Give some thought as to how you are tracking progress - You can do this through the number of attendees to each class, by tracking how many students get involve in STEM classes later on, etc.

Congratulations and best of luck with your project!

Adrian B.
15 June 2018 10:00

Hi Jacqueline!

Congratulations on finishing your peacemaking project! I’m on the Peace First team and wanted to say thank you for your amazing work and for taking time to share about your work.

Below you will find some feedback based on your Reflection, which we hope will help you to celebrate your incredible accomplishment and reflect on how to grow and develop your project in the future:

Strengths:

I am such a fan of this project! The video you shared tells a beautiful story about the work you're doing and the deep impact you're having on young people in your community. I love that you've identified a lack of early-age STEM programming for people in your community as the root cause of your injustice. Inviting folks who are established in their careers to come speak is powerful, as is inviting politicians. This is a program that is clearly making a huge impact!

Things to consider:

I have only one question/thought for you about how your project could be even more incredible. I'm wondering how you're defining "women/girls" in this situation, and how to hold space for nonbinary people who aren't women--but experience lots of sexism themselves--in this work. Also, because trans girls often experience exclusion, it can be important to find ways to make it clear they're welcome in a girls' space.

What are your thoughts? Have you talked to trans girls of color and nonbinary people of color about their experiences, and what it might be like to be a part of a space like yours? Here's a great resource for how to build that kind of collaboration/those sorts of interviews: https://www.peacefirst.org/resource/understand-1-talking-others

And here are a bunch of resources for deeper reading on a huge range of experiences with marginalization in STEM:

http://www.transhack.org/
https://guides.tricolib.brynmawr.edu/STEM
https://www.xojane.com/issues/disabled-people-in-science-technology-math-engineering-fields
http://www.matthewrcover.com/undocumented-in-stem
https://phys.org/news/2018-01-women-men-stem-odds-workplace.html

We hope you will stay in touch and keep us up to date as you continue your work to create change! Let us know how we can support you in next steps for your project.

Best,
Adrian