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Votes

Motivating Girls for Math and Science

McLean Area AAUW is hosting a program on Oct. 23, 7 p.m. at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Ave.) on How We Can Make a Difference in Local Girls’ Education and Future Careers. Fairfax County leaders in the areas of STEM, GEMS and MAGiC are the featured speakers. These acronyms all relate to efforts designed to motivate girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math—the four areas that are referred to collectively as STEM.

Advanced Academic Resource Teacher Naomi Sweet at Chesterbrook Elementary School in McLean will talk about the GEMS programs—Girls Excelling in Math and Science—and other related programs that she has implemented at Chesterbrook. GEMS Clubs for fifth and sixth grade girls were started in Fairfax County in 1994 to expose girls to the fun and excitement of STEM fields. Sweet will explain the current Chesterbrook programs and describe a typical GEMS session.

Billie Feldhaus will talk about the new GEMS Club that she is starting this school year at Haycock Elementary School. The Haycock GEMS Club for 4th and 5th grade girls will be meeting on most Wednesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. Feldhaus will discuss ways to support the program and become involved.

Elizabeth Vandenburg, an AAUW Reston-Herndon Branch member, is co-leader of MAGiC—the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative. MAGiC is a coalition of corporate, educational and nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting girls’ involvement in STEM that is funded by the National Science Foundation. Vandenburg and two branch partners received an AAUW Community Action Grant in 2001 for producing an award-winning video, “Tech Savvy Girls,” which received a $100,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to be disseminated nationally and translated into Spanish. Vandenburg will discuss her involvement with STEM activities and provide additional ideas for how to participate in encouraging area girls to pursue STEM-related education and careers.