Forum Aims to Boost Girls STEM Opportunities

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The Indiana Girls Collaborative Project is holding an event next month designed to raise interest in science, technology, engineering and math careers. The forum will also feature information on $10,000 in mini-grants through the organization. July 17, 2013

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Indiana Girls Collaborative Project will host a forum next month for educators and others interested in creating opportunities for attracting girls to science and math-related fields.

People can network and discuss collaborative opportunities that exist to encourage girls and women to consider science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers at the forum, which will be at Conner Prairie in Fishers on Aug. 5 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. The event organized by the Indiana Girls Collaborative Project (INGCP) will provide an organizational overview, as well as discuss some current efforts already underway.

"The Indiana Girls Collaborative Project is a community engagement initiative emphasizing the importance of collaboration in achieving the goal of informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM fields," said Bev Bitzegaio, director of outreach and student career support for the College of Technology at Indiana State University and leader of the Indiana collaborative. "The forum in August will bring together people from different fields who are all interested in working together with this goal in mind."

The event also will include information about funding sources to support future collaborative projects. The INGCP has $10,000 available in mini-grants for programs that support girls to learn more about science, technology, engineering and math.

"The INGCP mini-grants are awarded to girl-serving STEM programs to support collaboration, address gaps and overlaps in services and share exemplary practices," Bitzegaio said. "Participants will also learn about other financial resources available through different sources." The Indiana Department of Education will be announcing the Math and Science Partnership grants. In addition, Indiana Afterschool Network will present their database of funding sources and how to remain informed.

Girls and women are underrepresented in many STEM-related fields, which makes educational and outreach programming critical to educate people of the different possibilities that exist, said Bradford Sims, dean of the College of Technology at Indiana State.

"The Indiana Girls Collaborative Project provides a great forum to develop programming that introduces girls and women to topics and fields they may know little about," Sims said. "Even in the midst of the weak economy, there have been many STEM-related fields where there is a great need for employees, and even more fields exist where a diverse workforce can provide greater insights and benefits than currently exist in today’s workforce."

The INGCP already includes members from a variety of fields, including the Indiana Department of Education, Girl Scouts, multiple universities, Indiana Afterschool Network,Great Lakes Equity Center and Terre Haute Children’s Museum, who have worked together to organize the kick-off event.

"The INGCP Collaboration Forum is truly a collaborative effort," Bitzegaio said. "We have a variety of representatives serving on the leadership planning this event, and we are hopeful that even more collaborative partnerships will develop out of the forum."

The forum costs $10 to attend and will include light refreshments. To register online, visit http://www.ngcproject.org/indiana-girls-collaborative-project-collaboration-forum. For more information, contact Bev Bitzegaio at bev.bitzegaio@indstate.edu.

Source: Indiana State University