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.
To take a step toward meeting this need for STEM-trained individuals and close the male/female gap, the GP AAUW will underwrite a project to enhance STEM training of female 4th and 5th grade girls. In March, we decided to apply for a grant from our national organization that would provide funding for us to partner with Grosse Pointe Schools and a new business located in Grosse Pointe Park, The Robot Garage. Because of the tight timeline, we decided that we would delay the application until January of 2017 when we will apply for the two year grant in the amount of $10,000, so that we can sponsor STEM activities for 4th and 5th grade girls. In preparation for the grant, we have met with Sarah Jacobs, owner of The Robot Garage, and Keith Howell, director of elementary education in Grosse Pointe Schools. We have formed a partnership through which ten (10) 5th grade girls will participate in a summer week-long workshop at The Robot Garage. We will fund five (5) of the girls and The Robot Garage will fund five (5).
In late August, we will sponsor a parent/teacher workshop to train participants to be coaches for a First Lego League. Funding for both of these activities as well as for the First Lego League team are coming from book sale receipts and from direct donations to the branch STEM program. It was suggested that we contact the engineering programs at local universities to see if there are individuals who might be interested in working the First Lego League team.
This new initiative is very exciting for us. We hope that all members will get involved in one way or another to help this project be a big success!