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Posts Tagged ‘branch programs’

A primate researcher, a cybersecurity specialist, the head of a wildlife clinic, and a tech CEO: If you were a fifth-grade girl in Naples, Florida, you could meet these women professionals — as well as 99 other girls who love science and math as much as you do — all in the same day. Super Savvy STEM Girls = Success is this year’s title for the 16th annual conference for girls interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) hosted by the AAUW Greater Naples Area (FL) Branch on February 9.

daughter STEM conference

Conferences provide a valuable opportunity to spark girls’ interest in STEM. They introduce girls to women role models so that girls can see themselves in careers relevant to their interests. Girls can also try out interactive activities that make STEM fun while giving them the confidence that they can succeed in these fields.

“Our aim is to help each girl feel comfortable and independent in a safe environment and help her reach out to others,” writes conference co-chair Mary Schell. One hundred girls from elementary schools in the Naples area will spend the day in career workshops led by 10 local women professionals. Meanwhile, parents will hear from educators and career experts how to help their daughters prepare for high school, college, and a career.

Not in the Naples area? Not to worry. February and March may be two of the coldest months of the year, but they’re also two of the hottest months for STEM conferences at AAUW branches.

Girls will be having fun with STEM from coast to coast — from Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology in Pennsylvania to Discovery Day for moms and daughters in California — and everywhere in between. Expanding Your Horizons conferences are taking place at AAUW branches and other sites nationwide, including five locations in Texas alone. To find out if there will be an event in your area, get in touch with your local branch and follow AAUW STEM on Facebook for updates.

If you are a member of a local branch, AAUW wants to make it easier for you to get involved in hosting a STEM conference of your own. The new Tech Savvy national program will award grants to 10 branch or state organizations to fund a daylong event for girls and their parents this year. For a preview of what the Tech Savvy program will bring to your area, you can check out the original Tech Savvy in Buffalo, New York, on March 16.

This winter, don’t miss out! Tell a girl you know who has a passion for STEM or take your own daughter to an AAUW conference in your area and help her enter the creative, exciting, and innovative world of STEM.

This post was written by AAUW STEM Program Associate Alexa Silverman.

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Roe v. Wade advocates at AAUW of Colorado and our coalition partners are yard-sign collectors. Why? Biennial efforts to confer personhood in our state’s constitution for increasingly earlier prebirth stages of development seem to crop up like noxious weeds with a two-year life cycle. Thus Colorado sign wars ensued in 2008 and 2010 when amendments 48 and 62 made it onto the ballot. Proponents and opponents squared off in yards, on roadsides, and in various media outlets, hotly debating whether select uterine contents should have the same rights as a person under Colorado law.

"Vote No" yard sign from Amy Blackwell's own yard

“Vote No” yard sign from Amy Blackwell’s own yard

Think about the implications of such proposed constitutional amendments, which also appear on ballots in states other than Colorado. While the goal of these measures is to make abortion illegal, the consequences are much farther-reaching. Pull up your state’s constitution on the Internet and do a search on the word “person.” Then pull up your state’s compiled statutes and search that word again. You’ll see thousands of hits highlighting laws that affect nearly every aspect of life! Rolling back abortion access through prebirth personhood disrupts the legal system because there are countless instances in which a law cannot effectively be interpreted and enforced when a fertilized egg has personhood status.

Opponents of Colorado personhood amendments hammered upon these law-compromising ramifications, as well as the illegalization of procedures like in vitro fertilization and the total ban on abortion — even in cases of rape, incest, and risk to the life of the mother — to create a groundswell of “no” votes. In 2008, Coloradans rejected Amendment 48, with 73 percent voting no. The vote count against 2010’s Amendment 62 was 71 percent to 29 percent. It’s a cautionary tale, however. The nearly 3-to-1 defeats do not mean that Coloradans overwhelmingly favor abortion access. Amendment 48 and 62 opponents, in large part, thought that the measures simply went too far.

Perhaps opponents’ decline-to-sign petition efforts are finally taking root. In August 2012, AAUW of Colorado and other pro-choice advocates breathed a huge sigh of relief when Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced that personhood ballot petition circulators had failed to submit the required number of signatures. Personhood proponents launched a legal protest, but the 2012 measure did not make the ballot.

We Colorado choice champions celebrate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade and hope that our yard-sign collecting days are over — but we remain vigilant lest another personhood ballot initiative crops up.

This post was written by AAUW Director and AAUW of Colorado Public Policy Co-Director Amy Blackwell.

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AAUW has made tremendous strides for women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) since our founding more than 130 years ago. Over the years, we have produced cutting-edge research, convened discussions with key policy makers, and supported leading female thinkers like scientist Marie Curie and astronauts Judith Resnik and Mae Jemison through our fellowships and grants. Now, with a new STEM partnership and expanded programs for girls throughout the country, our work won’t slow down in 2013.

Here’s a look at what’s ahead.

 

Partnership with STEMconnector
AAUW is proud to announce that we have become a nonprofit sponsor of STEMconnector, an organization that works to bring together companies, nonprofit groups, and policy makers focused on building diversity in STEM. On January 30, 2013, AAUW will host a town hall discussion on STEMconnector’s latest research report, which analyzes the STEM job market and aims to help connect students to employers. From AAUW’s own research, we know how crucial it is to encourage more women to consider careers in STEM, and we’re excited to join STEMconnector in this endeavor.

Expanding STEM Programs for Girls

AAUW is pleased to kick off 2013 by expanding Tech Trek and Tech Savvy, two wildly successful programs that started at the branch and state levels, to reach girls nationwide:

Tech Trek
This year, Tech Trek summer camps will go nationwide with the addition of five new sites. Tech Trek has inspired more than 9,000 campers since it was founded in 2008 in California. These camps take 12- and 13-year-old girls on a weeklong “trek” to a local college campus for a chance to explore their potential in science and technology. Girls connect with role models through interactive classes, field trips, and workshops led by women professionals. And the camp draws some outstanding experts: Tech Trek campers have heard from many amazing role models, like the late astronaut Sally Ride and former Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz.

The new camps will launch in Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington, including in rural areas where programs like Tech Trek are most needed.

Tech Savvy
AAUW’s Tech Savvy program is a day of hands-on STEM workshops and informational sessions for sixth–ninth grade girls and their parents. The conference spurs excitement about STEM and gives girls the inspiration they need to pursue that interest through high school and college. AAUW will be expanding the highly successful program — which launched in Buffalo, New York, in 2006 — with the support of Tech Savvy founder Tamara Brown, who just last year was recognized by the White House for her efforts to increase the number of women engaged in STEM. AAUW is proud that Praxair Inc.’s sponsorship has made it possible to launch Tech Savvy at 10 pilot sites in the coming year.

In a world where gender bias and stereotypes prevent girls from pursuing STEM, these programs really matter. Tech Trek and Tech Savvy help girls at a critical time in their lives: right before they enter high school and begin to choose their educational paths. And the partnership with STEMconnector strengthens our efforts to make STEM fields more accessible for women in the workplace. 2013 is just the start for AAUW and STEM!

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