Cultivating achievement and interest in STEM
nPower Girls is a partnership between Career Connect Southwest, school districts in Southwest Washington, and many community partners to develop career exploration opportunities for young women in grades 4th – 6th. Many studies show that girls develop biases against certain careers as early as age eleven, which may eliminate many pathways to high-wage earning jobs if they aren’t aware of these opportunities or if they believe they do not have the necessary skills.
The goal of nPower Girls is to introduce young girls to career opportunities in STEM fields in their communities by connecting them directly to women who are professionals in business and industry. We do this through a monthly after-school mentoring workshop that includes women working locally in STEM careers. For each workshop, a woman professional mentor presents a design challenge and students develop potential solutions and share them during the workshop. Additionally, nPower Girls is developing STEM Skills & Career Exploration immersion camps for middle school girls led by teachers and female mentors in the local community.
In each after school session, students will:
- Explore a new career and a woman mentor working in that field.
- Use hands-on materials to explore the skills needed in a STEM career and develop solutions to current problems facing these women working in this field.
- Meet girls from your school (and possibly nearby communities) who are also interested in STEM.
nPower Girls Design Challenges
nPower Girls Outcomes
nPower Girls Outcomes
nPower Girls was designed to spark girls’ curiosity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through activities that promote knowledge and discovery.
ESD 112 and grant partners invited grades 4-8 Math and Science teachers from Castle Rock, Longview, Mill A, Mt. Pleasant, Naselle-Grays River Valley School, Ridgefield, Three Rivers Christian School, and Wishram to participate in a three-year professional development program. We explored community-based STEM businesses and met with women working in these positions. nPower Girls aimed at strengthening instructional practices that support female students’ learning in STEM and connect them with mentors around the state.
In our 3 years together, we conducted over 20 teacher action research projects to study instructional interventions aimed at supporting girls in engaging equitably in STEM subjects. We tested informative feedback protocols, spatial intelligence training, growth mindset training and grading patterns. We found that all interventions positively supported ALL students! Our biggest outcome was the change in perception of girls (and other students) in how they understood and made sense of their STEM relevant skills through project-based learning.
Director of Career Readiness & STEM Initiatives