MWM Steps Up With State Pledges!

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

CONTACT:

MWM: Julie Kantor: 202-431-5016, Julie.Kantor@STEMconnector.org

NGCP: Karen Peterson: 425-977-4750, kpeterson@edlabgroup.org

 

22 States Committed to Mentoring 140,000 Girls in STEM Skills

The National Girls Collaborative Project and Million Women Mentors Announce Major Commitments This Week to Elevate Girls in STEM

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 28thThis week, the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), a founding partner of the Million Women Mentors (MWM) initiative, will announce over 100,000 new STEM mentor commitments from more than 20 states. 45,000 additional pledges will come in from the Lt. Governor for Iowa, several other MWM State leader networks and The National 4-H Council. The goal of the movement is to garner one million mentors in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professions over the next four years, to collectively increase the interest and confidence of girls and young women in these academic areas.

The 22 states that will announce commitments include: Alaska, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia. Each mentor will commit to a minimum of 20 hours and the initiative has five suggested mentor pathways. For more information on the pledge please visit www.MillionWomenMentors.org.

“We salute the state-level leadership and know how hard they have worked to submit the mentoring pledges,” said Edie Fraser, CEO of STEMconnector® and Million Women Mentors. “Adding these new pledges to the 93,000 already made through our official site MillionWomenMentors.org takes us past the 200,000-mark – which is tremendous since our four year initiative only launched in January, 2014. We expect big corporate and government pledge announcements in the fall”

One of the key leaders spearheading the national push and call to action is Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa. Lt. Governor Reynolds will announce Iowa’s mentoring commitment and has recently issued a challenge to her fellow lieutenant governors to mobilize the business communities in their states to commit to Million Women Mentors pledges.

“The Million Women Mentors initiative is an opportunity to become actively involved in mentoring.  Mentors will be able to guide, encourage, and open doors for young women to be fully equipped for the great jobs of tomorrow in STEM-related careers,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds.  “In the United States, STEM is a driving force behind economic growth, stability, and educational success. That’s why we’re creating an environment in Iowa that prepares all of our students with the necessary skills to compete in a global knowledge-based economy.”

Karen Peterson, Principal Investigator of the NGCP, also praised the work being done on the state-level. “We celebrate the NGCP Collaborative network leadership teams who support large networks of programs with resources and services. Collectively, the National Girls Collaborative Project reaches over 8.5 million girls through their work. Our joint vision, to get STEM mentors activated from America’s top corporations and associations, is key to increasing the STEM workforce of the nation.”

Listed below is the schedule of state by state announcements:

TUESDAY, July 29, 2014
11:00 AM EST Kentucky
1:00 PM EST MAGiC: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Washington D.C.
2:00 PM EST Tennessee
4:00 PM EST Georgia
WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2014
11:00 AM EST North Carolina
1:00 PM EST Montana
2:00 PM EST NGCP MWM Mentor Fireworks Webinar and Iowa Pledge Announcement
4:00 PM EST Pacific NW: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Washington
THURSDAY, July 31, 2014
11:00 AM EST Pennsylvania
1:00 PM EST New York
2:00 PM EST Texas
FRIDAY, August 1, 2014
11:00 AM EST California
1:00 PM EST Southern New England: Massachusetts, Rhode Island
2:00 PM EST Oregon
4:00 PM EST Oklahoma

For additional details about the Mentor Fireworks Announcement and to learn more about how your state or organization can get involved, please visit: www.millionwomenmentors.org

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About Million Women Mentors: Launched on January 8th, 2014, MWM is the collective action of over 54 national partners and 22 corporate sponsors (as of July 2014) designed to increase the number of girls and women within the high school to work age continuum that persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers. For more information on MWM please visit www.MillionWomenMentors.org.

About STEMconnector®: STEMconnector®is a consortium of over 110 companies, associations, academic institutions and government entities concerned with STEM education and the future of human capital. STEMconnector® focuses on the STEM workforce and jobs, with a particular emphasis on diversity and women. Our work spans the entire pipeline (K-J—Kindergarten to Jobs) and how STEM education experiences translate into careers. For more information, visit STEMconnector.org

About the National Girls Collaborative Project: The National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) is a network of individuals, programs, and organizations sharing resources and collaborating to better engage girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The NGCP facilitates collaboration between 12,800 organizations (who serve 8.35 million girls and 4.5 million boys) through their network of 31 collaboratives, serving 39 states. Through this network of collaboratives and initiatives like the FabFems Project (a national directory of female STEM role models), the NGCP is bringing together organizations throughout the United States that inform and encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM.

Privilege and Diversity

April 29, 2014 By Catariya Lundgren

Before I was an adult woman (and had to endure everything that comes with it) I was a girl growing up in a place where, as far as I could tell, the biggest injustice was not based on gender. I knew that I was treated differently by certain people, but it wasn’t because I was a girl. You see, in addition to being a woman, I’m also mixed-race (hello diversity!).

My mum moved to Sweden in the late 1970′s, and back then Sweden was (and comparatively still is today) a very homogeneous place. I was lucky enough to live in a city with a larger than average immigrant population, and in fact, many of my school friends were not Swedish by birth. However, even among the diverse groups of ethnicities in my school I was a minority, and the stereotypes that come with looking Chinese were constantly being pointed out to me.

What I’m trying to say is that whatever group we identify as belonging to, we carry with us some sort of privilege that other groups may not have. These privileges come in different forms and depend on where we are, where we come from and where we’re going. And it’s so important to be aware of them and recognise that we have them. The same way that men have a societal privilege over women, white women have a privilege over women of colour and other ethnic minorities. Having been brought up in the West gives you a certain privilege and what socioeconomic background you come from will also play a part.

I’m by no means trying to rank people on how bad off they are. I am, however, trying to highlight that in this fight for equality between the sexes, it’s easy to see things in just one dimension (men and women). It’s easy to forget that when encouraging girls in schools, their biggest struggles may not be based on their gender, but on their skin colour, religion, or sexual orientation. And asking of them to identify with one very specific type of woman might be harder than identifying with someone of a similar background.

This is why it’s so important, that even though we’re trying to promote women within STEM (and for me, women within wider society in general), we have to remember to diversify our group as much as possible. Being inclusive is the only way that we will truly succeed, and having a cross-section of women from all backgrounds represented, ensures that we can reach out to girls from all parts of society.

Easier said than done? Yes it is. For the same reason there are more men than women in STEM, there are more white women then ethnic minority women. And there are more women from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than from lower ones. But that’s all part of the reason that initiatives like this exist right? So although we should keep up the effort to get more women into STEM, we also need to look at what we can do to balance the makeup of our group. We should definitely keep encouraging girls and focusing on girls everywhere, but maybe put a little more focus on the girls who will have to fight the odds a bit more.

There is (maybe not) surprisingly little out there about intersectionality in STEM fields, but I’m hoping that talking about it will be a good start.

The Challenges and Opportunities of Women in STEM

By: MacKenzie Moore

I sat in my high school government class discussing roles in the family. Admittedly, my mind was wandering but I quickly snapped back to attention when I heard my classmate say “Its the man working and making money and the woman doing house stuff” and watched the heads of nearly half my class–male and female–nod in agreement. With the utmost respect for stay at home moms and women who do not work, I personally want to work and was furious that “doing house stuff” was the only thing my classmates thought women were qualified to do.

Just a few months later, I started interning for Million Women Mentors, building a movement to find mentors for 1 million girls and young women going into the science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields. I was introduced by Gail Fierstein, board member of NPower, to the Athena Factor 2.0 published in February of 2014 by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI). The CTI found 80% of women working in Science, Engineering, or Technology (SET) love their work. Yet, one in three women in SET are likely to quit their job within one year. Their reason? “Hostile macho cultures, isolation, scarcity of effective sponsors and difficulty with executive presence.”

The challenges women face in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics is not solely a male vs. female issue. In fact the Athena Factor even points out that a woman will no longer be the lone female on a team but “they still feel excluded from ‘buddy networks’ among their peers and lack female role models.” They need the support of a mentor or sponsor. Mentorship, supporting a woman in her endeavor and sponsorship, championing a woman for jobs, promotions, and opportunities fights the isolation and gives women the support they need to survive and thrive in the STEM world. The Athena Factor found that “women with a sponsor are 70% more likely to have their ideas endorsed, 119% more likely to see them developed, and 200% more likely to see them implemented” which demonstrates the immense impact mentorship and sponsorship can have in the lives of women. These women need someone on their side, they need someone rooting for them, guiding them, and standing up or them in the professional world.

Yes, Mentoring Works: It’s Why I Graduated From College

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By: Sakinah Muhammad,
Teach For America
Original Source: The Root
 

My name is Sakinah Muhammad. I graduated from Temple University in May as a criminal-justice major with a minor in psychology. My next step is working for Houston Teach for America Corps while I attend graduate school at St. Thomas University. So much of where I am now is because of what I learned, and the support I received, from the mentor I was assigned through a nonprofit that is dedicated to preparing kids like me to succeed in college.

We hear a lot about mentoring from the adults who use it to give back, but I want to talk about it from the perspective of a younger person—someone whose education and life were changed over the past eight years by a great organization and a committed adult.

In the ninth grade, there was an announcement made at school (Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy in Washington, D.C.) about a program named College Bound. My best friend and I hadn’t thought about college before. But we thought that College Bound might be cool to do if we participated together.

We signed up for the program, which partners with organizations around the city, including BET Networks, American Institute for Research and the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School. But it wasn’t until the end-of-the-year celebration that we saw students, like us, receiving scholarships to go to college, that we really got it.

It made an impact on us. From that point on, we got more actively involved and participated in College Bound for four years. We went on college tours, retreats and participated in SAT prep. Eventually I went on to win Student of the Year and a scholarship to attend Temple University.

College Bound assigned me a partner who worked with me on SAT prep. I applied for and received numerous scholarships that I learned about directly from College Bound. My site coordinator literally handed me the scholarship application and said, “Apply.” I was able to network with other individuals and students through various events. After high school, my partner became my virtual mentor. College Bound still sent us care packages and I relished them checking up on us. It was exciting.

I am grateful for the virtual mentoring provided by College Bound because prioritizing my time had been the most challenging problem during my time at Temple. I didn’t have time to do all the things I needed to do if I wasn’t on top of my schedule. I was on the executive board of my school’s student event-planning board, I worked two jobs and then I had 19 credits. It was really a lot to manage.

My virtual mentor, Lauren Balog, helped me with all of this, and I invited her to my graduation. In the years we’ve worked together, she’s given me advice on family, adult situations, spending money and spring break. During all of college, she was like another parent figure that I was able to talk to.

College Bound changed my life by offering me new experiences and offering me a new perspective than most D.C. high school students’. I am not alone in my gratitude to College Bound. My best friend from Chavez will graduate next year from Virginia Commonwealth University. I think I speak for us and for all participants in the program when I say, now that we understand how much mentoring can do, we can’t wait to share what we’ve learned with another generation of kids.