In Fall 2014 we advanced our mission in addressing the challenge of engaging girls in STEM through our volunteer presence and support of the December 6 regional robotics competition. In these new efforts, we are working with the Loudoun campus of NVCC (a location attended by a large number of Fairfax County students) and the SySTEMic Solutions program. Our liaison with Systemic Solutions and NVCC is Tosin Adetoro,is the Loudoun County Regional STEM Education Coordinator. Tosin has a B.S., physics, Frostburg State University, M.S., technology education, Virginia Tech, and is an experienced classroom science educator.
In building this outreach the branch has been engaged by querying members on STEM interest, and backgrounding through newsletters, email and Facebook updates and other publicity, including event-specific posters (AAUW SUPPORT GIRLS IN STEM EDUCATION), follow up reports. We also participate in, support, and publicize other STEM events on our website, Facebook page and newsletter, such as Computer Science Week, December 8-14 and the Hour of Code, STEMtastics 2015, and STEM encouragement.
By our participation in Systemic Solutions events, we gain insight into the STEM education process. We serve as role models for the participants, both girls and boys. At the same time, we facilitate the event, performing in the organizational roles we select. See the difference just one STEM event made in a young woman’s life.
The mission of our partner, SySTEMic Solutions, is to “develop a sustainable STEM pipeline in Northern Virginia … that maintains interest for K-12 students through secondary education and ultimately a STEM career” via collaboration between schools, businesses and community organizations such as Reston Herndon AAUW. The VEX Robotics teams receive education and experience creating apps using the VEX robotics development platform.
Even in our high tech area, there is a STEM-education deficit. NVCC strives to benefit area students and its enrollees and to address the problem.