The national push to increase the number of students and professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) will not succeed until STEM education respects girls and young women. Pretty Brainy creates STEAM learning experiences that value girls’ diverse interests and perspective. By investing in how girls assess and approach science and math, we can solve the crisis of not having enough talent to tackle the tough issues facing our communities and planet.
Supporting Girls in Advancing Their STEAM Learning and Careers
Young women in Pretty Brainy are using their STEAM learning to mentor younger students, teach technology in the community, address business groups, become entrepreneurs, and invent devices to improve the lives and well-being of others. Pretty Brainy creates environments in which they become strong critical thinkers, collaborators, and problem-solvers of real-world issues. In turn, young women in Pretty Brainy are creating the perfect platforms to gain admission to colleges of their choice and win scholarships to fund their ambitions.
Contributing to the National STEM to STEAM Initiative
Our world faces tremendous challenges, and STEAM education teaches the skills most needed to find solutions: flexible thinking, risk-taking and creative problem-solving. An initiative
led by the Rhode Island School of Design, STEAM adds art and design to the national agenda of STEM education and research. Pretty Brainy employs STEAM to help girls gain confidence in their math and science abilities, replace perfectionism with risk-taking, and work hands on with a blend of art and science, as they are applied in the world beyond school.
Building a Community and Culture of Women and Girls in STEAM
It’s the Digital Age and yet, in a survey conducted by Girls Inc., nearly 20 percent of girls agreed with the statement, “Teachers think it is not important for girls to be good at math.”1 What’s more, the number of degrees in math and computer science earned by women peaked 30 years ago.2 Pretty Brainy builds girls’ interest in STEAM by engaging them in learning that leads to self-confidence and connections with other girls just like them.
GIRLS CAN DO MATH AND ANYTHING ELSE THEY WANT.
WE WORK SO GIRLS AND THOSE AROUND THEM KNOW THIS, TOO
In a 2006 survey of teen girls, 44% said, “The smartest girls in my school are not popular.”3 Old stereotypes about cognition and capability die hard and harm girls: 30,000 students in the United States take the advanced placement computer science A test, which focuses on computational thinking. Fewer than 6,000 are girls.4 In Colorado in 2016, the number was 51. Less than one-half of 1% of all high school girls in the state participated.
1 Girls Inc. The Super Girl Dilemma: Girls Feel the Pressure to Be Perfect, Accomplished, Thin, and Accommodating. Oct. 2006. www.girlsinc.org.
2 National Science Foundation. Science and Engineering Degrees: 1966-2006. Oct. 2008. www.nsf.gov.
3 Girls Inc. The Super Girl Dilemma: Girls Feel the Pressure to Be Perfect, Accomplished, Thin, and Accommodating. Oct. 2006. www.girlsinc.org.
4 Heitin, Liana. “No Girls, Blacks, or Hispanics Take AP Computer Science Exam in Some States.” Education Week, Jan. 2014. Retrieved Oct. 12, 2014, from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2014/01/girls_african_americans_and_hi.html.
Corbett, Christianne, Catherine Hill and Andresse St. Rose. Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. March 2010. AAUW. Washington, D.C.