Mark your calendars for SET in the City!

For the past seven years, Boston has celebrated girls in STEM by hosting SET in the City. This program focuses on Science Engineering and Technology and works to get girls excited about STEM by showing them what options are out there for them. The program, sponsored by the Boston Area Girls’ STEM Collaborative, is for girls in grades 9 through 12 and will take place on Saturday, March 28 this year.

The program is a day of career exploration featuring fields in science, engineering, and technology. The day will begin at 9am at Boston University, with kickoff speakers and a science bazaar. Girls will have lunch at Harvard, Emmanuel, Simmons, Northeastern, or Biogen with women currently in science, engineering, and technology, and will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities with professionals working in STEM. Girls will have the chance to learn about cutting-edge research taking place in the field and get advice from professionals and college students regarding pursuing STEM in their futures.

Registration costs $15 and includes breakfast and lunch (reduced registration fees are available). If you know someone who may be interested, they can register here! Space is limited so everyone who is interested must register online prior to the event. More information is available through the Boston Area Girls’ STEM Collaborative.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

 

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SheShinesOn…Lydia Peabody, Science Club for Girls

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K-5 Program Director

Oversees all of SCFG’s kindergarten through 5th grade programs

Grew up in Minnesota

Q: Could you tell us a little more about your professional experience?

A: Previous to joining Science Club, I worked in a variety of education and training environments including teaching science, instructing rock climbing and kayaking, running youth development programs, and managing on-the-job training opportunities.

Q: What previous job or training has best prepared you for your work with SCFG?

A: No single previous job best prepared me for my time at Science Club for Girls, rather this job gives me the opportunity to combine some of my favorite parts of previous roles.

Q: What has been the hardest part about your job?

A: What I find the hardest in this job is seeing the number of schools, programs, and girls that we are not able to provide opportunities for due to resource limitations.

Q: What has surprised you most since starting your work with your org?

A: I don’t know that surprised is the right word, since it makes complete sense to me, but I am continually impressed at the caliber of staff and volunteers who contribute to SCFG because of a strong connection to the organization’s mission.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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Transforming Dorchester – One Student at a Time

Though the Red Line has been more than groan-worthy this winter, this particular subway line represents more than just a (sort of) reliable way around the city; the Red Line is an uncanny illustration of Boston’s dichotomous relationship with education.

Take a closer look: To the north lies Cambridge, where you can’t take a step without bumping into a Harvard, Tufts, or MIT student rushing to class with coffee in hand.  To the south lies Dorchester, where 33 percent of students will not graduate from high school.

Though some of the best universities in the world are a simple 30 minute ride away for Dorchester students, many of them do not consider post-secondary education even a vague possibility.  It is not that they lack the “stuff” to thrive in an overworked, over-stressed, over-caffeinated Harvard classroom.  On the contrary, they have vast potential –  potential that has been dismissed due to the stigma surrounding their neighborhoods as well as their past actions. It is this potential that can ultimately transform both their lives and the entire community.  As Mark Culliton explores in his article published in the Boston Herald, College Bound Dorchester is awakening that potential , one student at a time.

Through extensive educational intervention, College Bound Dorchester bridges that 30 minute educational gap on the Red Line.  The organization prepares Dorchester youth for college through extensive academic and personal support.  By pushing students to succeed academically and personally, College Bound Dorchester ultimately transforms the community at large.

“We are investing resources in young people who have been deemed ‘least likely to succeed,’ students who have flunked out of school, been incarcerated, or are gang involved. Some call them gang bangers, drug dealers, or pimps. We call them ‘Core Influencers,'” writes Culliton, CEO of College Bound Dorchester, in an article for the Boston Herald.

The mission of College Bound Dorchester is to get these Core Influencers on the path to college and career success.  In doing so, the program slowly but surely catalyzes wide scale change in the entire Dorchester Community.  Ultimately, the goal is ensure that all students, regardless of zip code, can make that 30 minute trip on the Red Line – not to just pass through, but to grab a coffee before heading to class.

Discover more about College Bound Dorchester here.

Read Mark Culliton’s full article published in The Boston Herald here.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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Celebrating Engineers Week

Engineers week (February 22-28 this year) is a time to celebrate the innovative engineers across the country that make our lives better. Engineers week advances the discussion about why engineers are so important and works to get kids more involved in engineering activities, hopefully igniting their interest and excitement about the field.

This year, Science Club for Girls celebrated with rocket science. Meanwhile, Engineering is Elementary has been celebrating by sharing a little about the history of engineering and engineers week, which you can read on their blog.

So how can you celebrate? There are plenty of ways to bring the excitement of engineering to the young people and children in your life. DiscoverE, the organization behind Engineers week, offers a large library of fun activities and videos to get you in the engineering mood. Engineering is Elementary does too! Engineering is Elementary, alongside the Boston Museum of Science, is known for bringing engineering to life in fun and exciting ways for little to no cost. You can find these activities on the DiscoverE website, as well as at Engineering is Elementary for kids of all age ranges, and at Engineering Adventures for children in grades 3-5.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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Discrimination against girls in STEM may start sooner than we thought

Women are underrepresented in the world of Math and Science. This a fact that we have grown too used to hearing. Many point to childhood as the critical time in which girls begin to feel that they are not supposed to like math and science yet we still find ourselves asking why that is. Is it parents, school, toy manufacturers?

A new study tries to better answer our questions. Early elementary school teachers, the researchers say, may hold the key to our questions. More specifically, the biases these teachers hold may be causing the problems. Early experiences with their teachers influence the courses that students choose later in their educational careers, thus affecting the jobs they pursue and the wages they earn. Reversing these biases could help to increase the number of women entering STEM fields, such as computer science and engineering.

Previous studies have shown that college professors and even employers will discriminate against women in STEM environments, but now it appears that this discrimination begins, in some form, much earlier. This new study looked at girls and boys over the course of their school careers from sixth grade through high school. Exams were given to the students, one to be graded by a teacher they knew and one to be graded by a stranger. The girls outscored the boys in math when graded anonymously but not when graded by a teacher, leading the researchers to conclude that the teachers overestimated the boys’ abilities and underestimated the girls’ abilities. The boys who had been encouraged by their teachers continued to do well in math in high school. The girls who had been discouraged did not continue on to take advanced math courses.

This study reminds us that we need to be aware of our biases and how they affect those we may have influence over. SheGives is proud to work with organizations such as Science Club for Girls and Engineering is Elementary that work to engage girls and minorities in STEM and foster their passions for math and science. Because of these amazing organizations encouraging girls everyday, we may be able to make these biases history. You can read the full study online here.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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SheShinesOn … Gina Varamo, Science Club for Girls

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AmeriCorps Massachusetts Promise Fellow

Has been with SCFG for almost 2 years

Q: Could you tell us a little more about your professional experience?

A: I just graduated from Emerson College in May 2013, so my AmeriCorps fellowship at SCFG has been my first post-graduation work experience.

During undergrad, I was very active with Girls’ LEAP Self-Defense, a nonprofit organization based in Dorchester that teaches physical and emotional self-defense to girls 8-18 in the greater Boson area. I started as a teaching assistant during 10-week programs, 1-2 week intensives, or one time events, and moved my way through the ranks to a mentor programs internship, campus chapter student coordinator, and finally a lead teaching position. I also volunteered with Citizen Schools during undergrad, writing and facilitating a 10-week curriculum about wetland environments and water. Environmental science and environmental justice have always been two passions of mine, so when I saw the fellowship posting for Science Club for Girls, I thought it would be a perfect fit of my love for the environment, youth empowerment, and all female spaces.

Q: What previous job or training has best prepared you for your work with SCFG?

A: Girls’ LEAP played a large role in helping me discover my passion for working with young women and pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector, but nothing has prepared me better than my incredible Massachusetts Promise Fellowship family.

The Massachusetts Promise Fellowship consists of 40 fellows across the state that complete a year of service at schools, nonprofit organizations, or government offices. All fellow projects revolve around youth development, and focus on one of our five promises: a healthy start, a safe place, a caring adult, an effective education, or an opportunity to serve. We have monthly professional development meetings where we focus on topics such as ableism, racism, & adultism, working with youth that have experienced trauma, curriculum development, and facilitation. Through MPF, I am also able to work on my Master’s degree in nonprofit management for free at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, and my coursework has been very helpful in my work with SCFG.

Q: What did you have to learn to do in order to be able to do your job?

A: Essentially everything! I do not have a science background, so I’ve had to learn a lot of the science my teens are working on and terms they use. I’ve also had to learn how to manage volunteers, curriculum, participants, recruitment, and space for multiple teams all at once! I’ve definitely had to practice managing my time effectively, planning in advance, and being very flexible to ensure teams run smoothly every week.

Q: What advice would you give to people who are interested in your org’s type of work?

A: Patience. A lot of times we go into nonprofit organizations hoping to change the world… but the amount of times that happens is rare. I know my work will not touch everyone, and all of my girls will not go on to go to college and be scientists and engineers. But, if they have taken away something, whether it be how to write a resume, or they learned they loved poetry or business, or they felt like they had a safe place to go or someone to listen to them– that is really what matters. It’s collecting all those small victories and small stories that make this work wonderful.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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WhoIsShe? SheGives Member Katherine Scott

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Married to Mike Scott, who she met in college in Ohio; they've been together ever since

She got married at an apple orchard in Michigan, where she had donuts instead of a cake (Yum!)

Her favorite TV show is Rizzoli and Isles for the mystery and the Boston references

Loved Lucille Ball growing up and still loves shows with strong female characters

Has 2 masters degrees from Indiana University in Philanthropy & Nonprofit Management

Has lived in and been engaged in philanthropy in 6 different states!

Q: To start out, can you tell us a little about your work with Youth Philanthropy Connect?

A: Of course. I actually just started recently with Youth Philanthropy Connect, a special project of the Frieda C. Fox Family Foundation.  The foundation is located in LA, but I work remotely from Boston with a nationwide scope of work.  YPC is an exciting new way for youth engaged in philanthropy to connect across a peer network to learn and engage together.  I am thrilled to connect with and learn from these smart, inspired youth to support them in growing and connecting.  This year, we are holding 5 regional convenings across the country, so if any SheGives members have youth ages 8 to 25 interested in philanthropy or engaged, I am happy to share more information.

Q: When you’re not working, what are some of your favorite things to do and places to go?

A: I love finding new things about my city that are well-known, like Tatte for their amazing nationally-known baked goods.  I live in Medford, so I am always exploring, as well as I go every weekend to the Special Care Nursery at MGH to cuddle babies.  Some of what makes Boston so special are our amazing nonprofits so I am always learning locally too!

Q: So, in regards to SheGives, why did you want to pursue being a Board Member?

A: SheGives is an organization that inspires me everyday.  I am excited about the impact that has happened to date and the power of bringing together a group of women to give to such well diligenced nonprofits. So to put it simply, SheGives is amazing and joining the board was something I said yes to immediately.  I knew I wanted to be more engaged and am thrilled to join and excited to get put to work.

Q: Finally, who brought you into SheGives and what do you like best about her?

A: Laura Gassner Otting introduced me to SheGives.  I have known her throughout my work in nonprofit capacity building and been amazing to learn from her impact on the nonprofits she serves through NPAG. Laura introduced me to Kirstan and SheGives. I was immediately on board to be engaged in any way possible and excited to bring my professional experience into the fold to help build the work or diligence nonprofits.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

WhoIsShe is a regular column featuring an appreciative but sometimes irreverent conversation with a SheGives Member.

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WhoIsShe? SheGives Member C.A. Webb

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Grew up in Atlanta and moved to Boston in 1993 to attend Wellesley College

Has lived in Davis Square, Beacon Hill, South End, Back Bay and Cambridge

Has been a Big Sister since 1999. Her Little Sister is the first in her family to finish high school and, now, the first to attend college (at UMass-Boston)!

Threw a surprise 50th birthday party for her mom, made a video of photos and messages from family and friends, and sent her on a 2-week trip to South Africa.

Her most surprising moment: when her husband proposed to her at her birthday party on our roof deck in front of 50 of her friends

You may not know: she shaved my head in college as a feminism in action.

Q: Can you tell us a little about your work as Executive Director at the New England Venture Capital Association?

A: I work to make Massachusetts the best place in the world to start and grow new companies. My members are 90 VC firms but my organization represents the interests of the startup ecosystem–tech and healthcare–as a whole. My office is in Kendall Square, one of the coolest and fastest changing neighborhoods in the area. I spend my days meeting with VCs, entrepreneurs, legislators, policy folks, and other stakeholders in the community. Our big event that is open to the public is the NEVY Awards, May 13th at the House of Blues. http://www.newenglandvc.org/nevy-awards

Q: What are some of your favorite places to go?

A: My husband says that I travel so I can eat. Yes, that’s pretty much true. Our latest trip was to Zermatt, Switzerland where I ate my body weight in melted cheese. I am a convert to sailing vacations and spent two weeks sailing the British Virgin Islands with our my family, brothers, and nephews last year. We will do that trip again. My favorite trip ever is to New Zealand. It’s my husband’s homeland and is full of beautiful plants, birds and animals–and really good wine.

Q: What is your favorite television show or book?

A: I obsess over House of Cards and am embarrassed to say I discovered the series when good friends of mine showed up to a costume party dressed as Frank and Claire. I used to read voraciously but am sorry to say motherhood has seriously stymied that passion. I tell everyone I know who is contemplating starting a family, “Read now! Read everything you’ve ever wanted to. Really!”

Q: Who brought you into SheGives and what do you like best about her?

A: Laura Gassner Otting invited me to join when the group was first forming. I was a couple of weeks away from the birth of my daughter and felt stretched too thin. But, a year later, I’d gotten the hang of the working mom thing and received a second invitation. It was easy to say yes that time. Laura surrounds herself with great people and is always a hoot and holler to hang with. And she has a genuine commitment to social justice issues like education that matter to me. So, again, it was easy to say yes.

WhoIsShe is a regular column featuring an appreciative but sometimes irreverent conversation with a SheGives Member.

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Engineering Adventures Introduces New Afterschool Unit

Engineering is Elementary’s Engineering Adventures is back with a new afterschool unit. This time around, India and her brother Jacob, the stage setters for each EA unit, are off to visit a friend at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountainview, CA. While there, they get to learn a bit of aeronautical engineering.

EA, EiE’s afterschool program designed for children in grades 3-5, now features seven total units focusing on varying engineering fields. This new unit, titled “The Sky’s the Limit,” will offer students the opportunity to design flying technology that could be used for taking aerial photos.

This unit, along with an aerospace engineering unit, titled “Liftoff: Engineering Rockets and Rovers,” was supported by NASA as part of the larger MISSION grant to the Museum of Science Boston.  Both new units are available for download free and can be completed using easily available and inexpensive materials.

Engineering Adventures is a part of Engineering is Elementary, the award-winning curriculum developed by the Museum of Science, Boston through its National Center for Technological Literacy.

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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SheShinesOn…Owen Berliner, Engineering is Elementary

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Senior Curriculum Developer since September, 2011

His job is to create fun engineering activities for kids involved in the afterschool Engineering Adventures programs

His career has been like a time travel novel - formerly worked on archaeological excavations and now develops new ways to use interactive ed. technology

Last vacationed in Costa Rica, where he attempted surfing for the first time

Q: Before coming to EiE you had a range of roles in youth programs, archaeology, and cube farms. What kind of training prepared you to work with youth on engineering education?

I did a lot of research in grad school that analyzed some of the reasons why many children gain knowledge and understanding of a particular topic after participating in an engaging, hands-on experience. Today, I often refer back to the knowledge I gained from that study when attempting to craft intellectually stimulating engineering activities.

Q: Why is incorporating engineering skills into education so important?

Our future depends on having a population that’s capable of engineering creative solutions to the big problems we face as a species. I think the work we’re doing at Engineering is Elementary is important because we’re developing tools that are designed to get a new generation of kids energized about engineering.

Q: That’s very cool! Finally, where do you go for a perfectly engineered meal?

I live in Boston’s North End so I’m constantly bombarded on the street with wonderful aromas from Italian cooking. My favorite place in the neighborhood serves up an awesome baked gnocchi that I just have to order every time I visit. It’s perfect comfort food for when the weather gets cold.

Engineering is Elementary® (EiE®) is the award-winning curriculum developed by the Museum of Science, Boston through its National Center for Technological Literacy® (NCTL®).

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SheGives connects committed, inquisitive, engaged donors with a slate of diligenced nonprofits in the Greater Boston area. We provide members with relevant data about the nonprofits in our portfolio and an opportunity to meet directly with our nonprofits’ Executive Directors and senior staff in small settings that promote in-depth q&a’s and, ultimately, informed giving. Giving is personally driven, but because we give side-by-side our collective impact is greater. See a list of the vetted nonprofits selected for our slate here.

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