Grant Gives Wyoming Rural Communities Access to STEM Outreach Programming
BILLINGS, Mont. (Release) - Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming (GSMW) is hitting the road to deliver Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) experiences to girls, K-12, in rural Wyoming thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Wyoming Women’s Foundation and Wyoming Afterschool Alliance.
GSMW has completed phase one of developing a Mobile STEM Learning Center to show possibilities, provide knowledge, and hands-on STEM experience to girls at an early age. While more than half of the U.S. workforce consists of females, less than one quarter of STEM careers are held by women. From their initial interest in STEM as a child to majoring in a STEM subject in college to pursuing a STEM career as an adult, the gender disparity needs to change at every stage of girls’ and women’s STEM engagement.
In addition, STEM has been distributed in an alarming uneven manner and millions of students across the country exist in STEM “deserts”. Approximately 69% of Wyoming’s population lives in rural areas. This translates to hurdles that can include a lack of access to honors courses, high-level technology business exposure, as well as limited access to quality curriculum, and vigorous and engaging math and science courses.
Briana Rickman, Director of Fund Development for GSMW, says the Mobile STEM Learning Center helps bridge both gender and geographical gaps by ensuring that girls of every age in rural areas have opportunities to explore STEM possibilities as a future career.
“We love the wide open spaces of the mountain west, but it also poses challenges for girls to get to larger towns where many STEM programs are held. With the Mobile STEM Learning Center, we take the STEM experience to girls. This mobile unit allows us to create and optimize an environment where girls explore freely, expand their perspectives and, hopefully, pique their interest and confidence to explore STEM even more. When there’s space for a girl’s imagination to grow, there’s no stopping where she’ll go.”
GSMW will hit the road with the Mobile STEM Learning Center this Labor Day with its first stop in Casper, WY. Their goal is to provide STEM programming to girls in every Wyoming County within its first two years.
If you would like to donate to support this project or would like more information on how you can get involved, please contact Briana Rickman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-252-0488.
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