Carnegie Science Center Teams Up To Girl Up STEM Fields

New curriculum partnership seeks to engage girls around the world

Girls In Laboratory
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By Jennifer Bloodworth for NewsRadio 1020 KDKA 

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Carnegie Science Center educators and the United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up are seeking to bridge the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The local science center and global leadership development initiative released a curriculum this week designed to get girls across the world educated and engaged in STEM-related fields and skills.

The curriculum will be used in Girl Up’s 2,200 clubs positioning girls to be leaders in the gender equality movement.

A  2017  UNESCO  report found  women  represented  only  35 percent  of  all  students  enrolled  in  STEM-related  fields  of  study  globally. The  same  study also found  that  girls’  interest  in  STEM often drops  off  in early  adolescence.

Other  factors  such  as  race,  socioeconomic  status,  and  sexuality  all  play  a  role  in exposure  to  STEM  training  and  hiring rates  in  STEM  jobs. A  wage  gap  exists  for  self-identified  females in the tech industry and  the  gap  becomes  even  wider  in  underrepresented  minority  groups. 

The Girl Up STEM curriculum includes ten activities that culminate in a STEM challenge for social good. STEM boot camps will also be held this fall in Pittsburgh, Chicago, Houston, New York City, and Orlando. They will include local female STEM leaders and hands-on skills-based training for STEM solutions for issues in their communities.

The curriculum focuses on intersectionality and promises participants: “No matter  where  you  live  or  what  resources  you  have,  completing  this  toolkit  will  further  your  critical  thinking  skills  and  expose  you  to  ways  that  STEM  solutions  can  make  our  world  a  better  place.”

But the lessons and activities aren’t necessarily about science, technology, engineering or math.

Carnegie Science Center Director of Science and Education Liz Whitewolf told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News that the lessons weren’t developed just to get girls into the STEM field, but to teach them skills that can be applied in their lives for social good.

“The really cool thing about this partnership is these activities are using STEM competencies around things like education, health, safety from violence, leadership and being counted,” Whitewolf said. “Those are values of the Girl Up organization that we have developed these lessons about.”

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