STEM Stars is a collaborative project of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh's TechGYRLS program and Carnegie Science Center's GEMS (Girls Engage in Math and Science) program with major funding from the United Way. The purpose of STEM Stars is to improve academic achievement and increase interest in, and awareness of, STEM topics and careers among economically disadvantaged girls; and decrease opportunity gaps that negatively impact these girls' successful matriculation through the STEM education pipeline and into STEM careers.
STEM Stars addresses barriers associated with middle school girls' engagement in STEM: inadequate access, opportunity, academic preparation, and attitudinal barriers that limit success and persistence in STEM. STEM Stars provides reading; math and science remediation and enrichment; hands-on project-based STEM activities; life skills development; mentoring; pre-college experiences; and STEM career exploration. Currently in the second year of a three-year program, STEM Stars is operating in 14 sites in the Pittsburgh Public Schools and Woodland Hills School District with plans to scale to 25 sites throughout the region in the 2015-16 school year.
Tour Your Future is a career exploration program that gives tweens and teens, ages 11-17, an opportunity to meet female professionals who work in various organizations. The program shows girls that they can find a place in science by introducing them to diverse STEM careers, from avian zoologists to accountants, software engineers to surgeons at their work sites. To schedule a tour or for more information, please contact Nina Barbuto at BarbutoN@CarnegieScienCecenter.org.
CanTEEN, Career Exploration is an innovative resource to inspire girls to see themselves in STEM careers through gaming and online activities. The initiative encourages tweens and teens to challenge and expand their knowledge of diverse STEM subject matter with connections to related professions, potential career paths and women making a difference. CanTEEN is currently comprised of an interactive game and Online resource. CanTEEN uses innovative gaming elements and a sense of community to teach, enrich and encourage youth in pursuit of their future professional selves.
Click! Spy School engages girls ages 10-14 in solving mysteries and completing covert missions using key STEM concepts through informal project-based learning experiences. This program combines relatable and fun narratives with cutting-edge technology to foster tactile-based inquiry, real-world problem solving skills, and career exploration in STEM fields. Local and national female STEM professionals from esteemed companies and universities regularly contribute to the curriculum, guest counsel, serve as professional mentors, and act as cameo roles in the camps' narrative. Click! Spy School engages girls predominantly through Summer Camp programs at Carnegie Science Center, as well as through interactive online experiences and condensed activity sessions. Each program of the Click! Spy School promotes learning through "play," while incorporating elements of "design" and "make" into specific activities. Playing is an integral part of solving the mystery; by enacting the role of an agent-in-training, each participant is learning through doing.
GEMS is an off-site afterschool program that provides workshops for girls in grades 6-8. Each workshop focuses on a STEM topic and features local female role models in STEM careers. GEMS is offered at Pittsburgh Public Schools, the Wilkinsburg School District, and other partnering community organizations such as the Duquesne-West Mifflin Boys and Girls Club.