In Michigan, it is predicted that by 2018, there will be a need for 274,000 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) trained job candidates. Currently, there are twice as many males in STEM-trained jobs as females. The AAUW report, “Why So Few Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics” has substantiated the need for more STEM trained people, females in particular.

Thank you for your financial support to our new STEM project. Thank you for agreeing to use a portion of the 52nd Annual Used Book Sale profits to begin the support. Thank you to all of you who made individual donations to the project. Your support has gotten our project on its feet.

This summer we gave scholarships to five (5) fourth grade girls from Defer Elementary School so that they could attend a mindcrafts class at The Robot Garage located in Grosse Pointe Park. The Robot Garage sponsored another four (4) girls so that a total of nine (9) girls could get prepared to be a part of our Defer Elementary First Lego League Team. Additionally, we paid for a total of five (5) adults to be trained as First Lego League coaches – training that also took place at The Robot Garage. Seven (7) girls from Defer attended the training. As we begin this new school year, we have eleven (11) girls signed up to be a part of the First Lego League Team.

Being a part of the First Lego League requires quite a commitment!! Currently, we have two Defer parents who have agreed to coach the team, Karen Sullivan, the principal of Defer who has agreed to be a school mentor, and three AAUW members – Ellen Chapin, Joanne Johnson and me – who have been trained as coaches but will serve as mentors and an administrator. Thank you, Ellen Chapin, for agreeing to be the team administrator.

The parent coaches are very excited to begin the year’s activities. By the time you read this, the coaches and the girls will have agreed upon a team name, established a practice schedule and begun the preparations to enter the First Lego League competitions which begin in November.   We will continue to work with the school district to formalize our role in this effort to encourage girls to be involved in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Once the schedules and locations are established, we will send the information to you. You are most welcome – and encouraged – to come to see what the girls are doing. We do hope that they will be able to present their competition performance to our membership sometime this year. Meanwhile, check out The Robot Garage in Grosse Pointe Park. It is an excellent addition to our community.