15 Sep 2014
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Girls Inc. to Pilot $600,000 NASA Program

The project will connect middle school girls in after-school programs at Girls Inc. of the Island City with UC students and scientists in physics and astronomy.

Girls Inc. to Pilot $600,000 NASA Program

From a University of California, Berkeley press release:

UC Berkeley’s Center for Science Education at the Space Sciences Lab is kicking off a $600,000 NASA-funded collaboration with Girls Incorporated of the Island City, called Five Stars Pathway: Engaging Girls in Science through Multigenerational Mentors.

Five Stars Pathway is a $600K, three-year education project led by the Center for Science Education at the Space Sciences Lab (CSE@SSL), at the University of California, Berkeley. It will connect UC Berkeley graduate and undergraduate students in physics and astronomy with middle school girls in after-school programs. The project is funded by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

The Five Stars Pathway collaboration creates a model in which five “generations” of females engage in teaching and learning science together in an after-school setting, with each generation representing one step in the pathway of pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM).

The five pathway steps are elementary school, middle school, undergraduate studies, graduate studies and, finally, professional science careers. Women and girls from each level act as teachers/mentors to those on an earlier step in the pathway. The undergraduate and graduate students teach and mentor the middle school girls, then the middle school girls share their knowledge with the elementary school girls.

Throughout the program, career scientists participate through videoconferencing to share their expertise and journey with the UC Berkeley students and middle school girls.

The Five Stars Pathway program will be pilot tested at Girls Inc. of the Island City in Alameda and at Girls Inc. of Alameda County in Oakland beginning in fall 2012,. In the second year of the project, an additional five Girls Inc. affiliates nationwide will be trained on the program at the Girls Inc. headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Nancy Alima Ali, project lead, says, “NASA recognizes that women are still underrepresented in the space sciences, especially heliophysics; Girls Inc. has a need for inspiring female mentors in STEM roles. This project brings together people with the expertise to reach and inspire girls to engage with NASA science and truly envision themselves in authentic science careers.”

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