In a world where STEM fields are rapidly growing and changing, it is essential to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate and succeed! Unfortunately, for many girls, particularly those from underrepresented communities, access to quality STEM education and career opportunities remain limited. That’s where the Million Girls Moonshot initiative comes in.
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What is the Million Girls Moonshot?
Launched in 2020, the Million Girls Moonshot initiative is a collaborative effort led by the STEM Next Opportunity Fund. Its main goal is to inspire and prepare girls to become innovators and leaders in STEM.
Aiming to reach one million girls in the United States over the next five years, the Million Girls Moonshot provides girls nationwide with access to quality STEM education, mentorship, and exposure to STEM careers.
How does it work?
The initiative involves partnerships between schools, non-profits, corporations, and government agencies to provide girls with opportunities to engage in hands-on, project-based learning experiences and develop STEM skills and confidence.
Rather than utilizing a set curriculum, Million Girls Moonshot engages girls and underserved youth in STEM fields through four research-backed Transformative Practice Areas, which include:
- Developing an engineering mindset: By including engaging activities that encourage girls to acquire different skills and attitudes, participants can learn to persist in the face of challenges, work in teams, and come up with multiple solutions to problems through trial and error.
- Encouraging inclusive and equitable STEM practices: These are methods that promote the participation of girls and other marginalized young people in STEM. They involve choosing topics that appeal to all genders, incorporating relevant community problems into activities, and collaborating in groups.
- Engaging with role models, mentors, and families: Through connecting young people interested in STEM with professionals from underrepresented backgrounds, participants are motivated to take part in STEM activities together.
- Providing continuous STEM learning pathways: This refers to collaborations with different programs and organizations to ensure that young people who want to participate in more STEM-related activities are smoothly transitioned from one experience to another, without encountering any obstacles or disruptions in their learning journey.
What has the initiative accomplished so far?
Recently, the Million Girls Moonshot released a report that sheds light on the impact of the initiative in its first year. This report was authored by independent evaluation consultants at Public Profit, an organization with expertise in expanded learning programs.
The evaluation found that the Moonshot program’s grantees made significant progress in their first year. They connected with 20,990 afterschool and summer programs, reaching 160,000 girls and a total of 396,800 youth! They also formed partnerships with 612 new organizations from various sectors such as business, government, and education. Given the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced many schools and community centers to suspend in-person activities in 2020 and the first half of 2021, these achievements were no small feat.
Additionally, almost 200 volunteers have dedicated more than 1,800 hours of service to the initiative. These volunteers have participated by sharing their STEM experiences and participating in events and virtual competitions.
Grounded in the belief that every girl has the potential to be a STEM leader, this project aims to address the systemic barriers that prevent girls, particularly those from underrepresented and underserved communities, from pursuing STEM fields. Check out the full report to read more about what the initiative accomplished in its first year and the movement’s plan for the future.
By creating a national movement focused on girls in STEM, the Million Girls Moonshot hopes to create a more inclusive STEM workforce that reflects the richness of our society! By empowering girls from diverse backgrounds to become STEM leaders and innovators, we can unlock new ideas, perspectives, and solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
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