Reston Organizations Teach Girls the Value of Science

Reston Organizations Teach Girls the Value of Science

— The Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club Initiative, Nova Labs and the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative (MAGiC) have announced a new project: The Girl Makers of Northern Virginia.

The project—funded by a $3,500 grant from the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Innovation Fund ($1,000) and the Moore Family Foundation ($2,500)—builds upon two “Take Apart” sessions held at Nova Labs last winter. “We provide the recycled items and the tools and the girls provide the elbow grease and the enthusiasm,” says Brian Jacoby, Nova Labs president. The goal, he says, is to inspire tinkering and to feed girls’ natural curiosity. “New funding will allow us to expand the program,” Jacoby states. Take Apart sessions, like Girl Makers, aim to build girls’ interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes and careers.

Elizabeth Vandenburg, co-lead and outreach director of GEMS and MAGiC, says, “Nearly 51 percent of the U.S. population: women. Girls need to get in the pipeline, and Nova Labs is at the cutting edge 21st-century economic engine in STEM innovation spearheading this exciting project.” Founded in 1994, the GEMS Club initiative is an after-school effort to expose three fields. Third through eighth grade girls are exposed to the fun and wonder of STEM Nova Labs through a nonprofit “makerspace” in Reston that provides a community workshop where people can learn, teach and collaborate on creative and technical works. Started at Clearview Elementary School by volunteers and teachers, the GEMS Club now has 35 clubs across Fairfax County Public Schools and expanded at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago, Ill. The lab is part of the international Maker Movement, the trend of individuals creating and selling self-made items, which is considered to be spreading quickly in neighborhoods across the United States.

For more information call Contact Elizabeth Vandenburg 703-774-7796.