SheShinesOn…Allison Smith, Science Club for Girls


Volunteer Programs Manager for SCFG for nearly 3 years

Directs volunteer recruitment and retention strategies, cultural competency trainings, and campus chapter leadership workshops

Her first vacation in 10 years was a trip to Turks & Caicos

Grew up in Nashua, NH

Last, best meal was a 36oz Porterhouse steak at Gibbet Hill Bar & Grill in Groton, MA

How you know she's a nerd for higher education: she's currently reading "Student Development in College: Theory, Research, and Practice"

Q: What did you do before working with Science Club For Girls?

I was a Program Coordinator for the nonprofit FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). I loved the atmosphere of inspiring youth to look at STEM in a whole new light by connecting them with great role models and mentors. When the opportunity to work with Science Club for Girls popped up I knew it would blend my love of STEM education with my deep connected feminist beliefs and bring me back to Boston, MA where I spent 2 years serving as an AmeriCorps member at the Mass Mentoring Partnership.

Previous to working with SCFG I was an AmeriCorps member and had the best training from the Program Directors. I served for 2 years with a diverse corps and we went through multiple leadership work-styles trainings and how best to communicate with team members near and far. That was incredibly helpful since the SCFG programs span many different cities and our staff have very diverse backgrounds and talents. Having a communication agreement and understanding the expectations and roles of staff goes a long way when our programs are kicking off and we are all managing stress.

Q: That sounds tough to manage! Is that the most challenging part of your work?

I think the hardest part of my job recently has been turning away awesome potential volunteers. We have some great programs throughout the week that give us a high retention rate of mentors that have formed great connections with our girls. While we would love to grow and involve more girls in the program we can’t grow without more partners and more funding to make the impact the girls deserve and involve more female STEM mentors.

Q: Sounds like you work with some great volunteers and science wonks. Do you have a science background?

NO! I am one of maybe 2 staff members that do not have a STEM background so sometimes trying to engage potential STEM mentors can be a challenge. To combat this I’ve really gotten to know some of our specific curricula and activities that we do so I can be more confident when talking about how our girls learn about their pulse and how blood travels by dissecting pig hearts.

Q: What has surprised you the most in your work with SCFG?

How many women have said “I wish this was around when I was a girl!”

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