Grant Award to Fund STEM Education for At Risk Girls

Young girls in the Greater Lansing area will have the opportunity to participate in ‘girls only’ STEM clubs through a new program called 2020 Girls.
 
A partnership between the Information Technology Empowerment Center (ITEC) and the Michigan Council of Women in Technology (MCWT) was recently awarded a $26,000 Women’s Initiative Grant by the Women’s Leadership Council of the Capital Area United Way to support this new program for at risk girls.
 
“15% of Computer Science students at Michigan State University are women and 85% are male,” says Kirk Riley, Execituve Director of ITEC. “That’s an incredible disparity.”
 
Since its formation in 2008, the ITEC has worked to provide resources to help students improve their grades in science and math. Their IT based programs are implemented at community locations like the Capital Area District Library, the YMCA and Lansing Community College. Students are given the opportunity to learn robotics, basic programming, digital media and game design.
 
“We try to play to a child’s inner geek and help them learn through play,” Riley said.
 
2020 Girls will have an innovative laser focus on improving the way that at risk girls experience science and math.  The ITEC is proposing that STEM clubs be set up at schools within the Lansing School District were young girls will experiment with building robots, developing apps and designing their own video games. 

The hope is that 2020 Girls will teach young girls 21st Century skills like problem solving, analytical thinking, collaboration and creativity while encouraging them to keep their sights on STEM careers past middle school when they typically lose interest.

Source: Kirk Rily, Information Technology Empowerment Center
Writer: Tashmica Torok, Innovation News Editor
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