Change the Game for Girls in STEM

We Don’t Need More,
We Need Different

Published in The Huffington Post

Co-authored by Linda Kekelis with Kara Sammet, Manager of Research and Evaluation at Techbridge, and Jen Jayme, Director of Development and Marketing at Techbridge.

More coding camps and Maker Faires aren’t going to solve the diversity problem in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). We don’t simply need more, we need different. We need to change our game and design solutions that are girl-centric and culturally-responsive and, most importantly, supportive of girls who are far outside the STEM winners’ circle. We need to be intentional every step of the way to recruit, retain, and empower girls who never imagined their place at a summer robotics camp in middle school, an advanced placement computer science class in high school, or an engineering major in college.

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Macaroni Kid of Hendrick County

NonProfit Spotlight: The STEM Connection

As parents we get excited when we find programs that will fit our kids perfectly. This happened to me when I can across The STEM Connection. I’m pretty sure my 5-year-old daughter is going to want to live there year round. It is a nonprofit organization that utilizes Moore Road Farm, their 30 acres of outdoor space, to inspire kids in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through hands-on, minds-on and feet-on-the-ground programming.

Different ecosystems are maintained including: deciduous forest, Eagle Creek, fields of crops, and gardens. This provides an array of educational opportunities for all ages.

Year-round programs like field trips, family hikes, after school STEM challenge clubs, traveling STEM experiences, and summer camps are focused on Indiana science standards, conservation and inspiring STEM careers. A few summer topics include: The Amazing Animal Kingdom, What Can You Be?, and Citizen Scientist. As a parent, I love that it is a balance of learning but also spending the summer outside.

We are happy to now be including their programs on our calendar and summer camp guide:

You can also find more information on their website…

National After School Association

Spring has sprung! The days are getting longer, and the weather is getting brighter. It’s great to play and learn outside. Unfortunately, time spent outdoors is becoming a rare commodity for our young people. Full disclosure: I may be old. I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s—and back then, playing meant playing outside.

Endangered in Indiana: Will these animals survive?

Indianapolis Prize draws attention to conservation efforts worldwide.

But you can help endangered species closer to home.

by Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star

On Wednesday, the Indianapolis Zoo will announce the winner of its 2016 Indianapolis Prize, a $250,000 award given every two years to an animal conservation scientist. The six finalists this year have devoted their lives to saving species around the world: Large mammals in the Arctic. Penguins in Argentina. Birds and turtles in Mauritius. Seahorses in the Philippines. Marine life. Snow leopards.

But one does not have to travel far to find endangered animal species. Several Indiana species, from mussels to a two-foot salamander, appear on state and or federal endangered lists.

Some animals, such as the trumpeter swan, appear on the state’s endangered list because they exist in such small numbers, said Warren Gartner, a conservation education supervisor with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources’s Division of Fish & Wildlife. However, these swans have always been rare in Indiana.

But there are many species whose numbers have been dwindling over time.

Here are five examples — and what you can do to help.


Passport to Hi-Tech Event

Passport to Hi-Tech logo

Young Girls Have Opportunity to Explore STEM Interests and Careers

More than 1,200 girls, ages 7-12, are expected to explore STEM interests, careers on March 5 at Passport to Hi-Tech!

FISHERS, Ind. (Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016/Conner Prairie) – Jocelyn Dunn is well on her way to becoming an astronaut, a dream she’s had since she was a young girl. At age 28, the Purdue University industrial engineering doctoral student has accomplished some impressive feats, earning a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, a master’s degree in biomedical engineering and living eight months in a simulated Martian habitat.

In 2014, Dunn and a team of five other researchers lived in abandoned quarry about 8,000 feet above sea level in a domed structure on a volcano slope on the Big Island of Hawaii. The team was part of a NASA-funded study of human factors that affect team performance during long-term space travel, like a mission to Mars.

“We as a team went out and explored the area in full space suits as if we were the first Mars explorers,” Dunn said. “We would get tasks assigned to us from our Mission Control and explore the terrain. This was the most astronaut-like thing that we did and the most enjoyable part for me was putting on the suit and feeling all of the physical and mental challenges of exploring.”

Nearly 1,200 girls with aspirations mirroring Dunn’s when she was young can talk with female science and technology leaders and participate in hands-on, interactive activities March 5 at the third annual Passport to Hi-Tech, a partnership between Conner Prairie and Women & Hi Tech.

Passport to Hi-Tech is an event for girls ages 7 to 12 to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The event runs from 10 am to 5 pm inside Conner Prairie’s Welcome Center, located at 13400 Allisonville Road in Fishers, IN. Free for museum members, general admission is $8. Admission for area Girl Scouts in uniform and their family members is $6.

Girls can participate in hands-on experiments and interactive exhibits throughout the day and explore biology, chemistry, engineering, manufacturing, computer science and other disciplines.

At 30 stations located throughout the museum’s Welcome Center, girls can engage with female experts and professionals working in STEM-related fields and ask questions, help with hands-on experiments, participate in interactive tasks and learn more about careers. Girls will have their passports stamped after visiting each station, helping them decide what fields they found most interesting.

In addition to Dunn, several other female STEM leaders and achievers will be present at Passport to Hi-Tech, including Mikaela Gilbert, a student at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University who as a high school senior launched a business called Chatter Eggs, and Lisa Laughner, founder, president and CEO of Go Electric, a green-tech startup developing energy services solutions that accelerate a renewable energy future.

Passport to Hi-Tech is sponsored by Roche and supported by technology hosts Dow AgroSciences, Cummins, Garrity Tool, Rolls-Royce, CIM System Robotics, Eleven Fifth Academy, Lilly, CE Solutions, Go Electric and Angie’s List. Education hosts include Indiana University, Purdue University, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, Indiana State University, Butler University, Ivy Tech, Marian University, Anderson University and St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. Program hosts include Girl Scouts of central Indiana, Engineering for Kids, STEM Scouts, INFirst Robotics, 1st Maker Space, Video Game Palooza, Microsoft Store, Starbase Indiana and Link Observatory.

For more, visit

donate to STEM

The STEM Connection is part of Giving Tuesday 11/27! #givingtuesday

2018 Awards

-SYPF Grant recipient 2016, 2017, 2018

-River-Friendly Farmer Award from the local Soil and Water Conservation District. This award recognizes farmers who, through good protection management practices, kelp keep Indiana’s rivers, lakes and streams clean.

-2018 McKinney Family Foundation Scholarship award recipient to attend Fundraising and Advocacy for Environmental Nonprofits offered by The Fund Raising School

IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy

2017 Awards

-Joe Wright Recognition of Excellence Award by the Environmental Educators Association of Indiana

-Hoosier Chapter Soil And Water Conservation Society’s Education and Communications award for 2017!

-SYPF grant recipient 2016, 2017

-Intern, Madeline Anderson – 2017 Excellence in Summer Service Education Award Recipient


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