A LASTING IMPACT
The Women's Initiative program emphasizes the importance of creating personalized interactions between school-aged women and college women. School-aged students can identify more closely with college students than with college recruiters and industry professionals. The enthusiasm shown by MIT women reveals a new and exciting side of STEM to younger girls.
Our primary objectives are to:
- Encourage school aged girls to pursue studies and careers in STEM.
- Empower and motivate high school girls to take the most challenging math and science courses in high school.
- Expose students to STEM disciplines and challenge their common stereotypes.
- Educate and share experiences with other institutions and groups who wish to start similar programs.
This year, our presenters spoke to nearly 6,000 middle school and high school girls across nine states in just four weeks. Girls from around the United States spent time interacting with MIT women who are working in engineering and science every day. Our presenters reached young minds and
teachers and made a lasting impact all over the states.
Encouraging more women to get into STEM fields is important to the long term competitiveness of our nation. Statistics show that in the future, there will not be enough scientists and engineers to fill the available positions in industry and academia. The National Science Board warns,
"If action is not taken now to change these trends, we could reach 2020 and find that the ability of U.S. research and education institutions to regenerate has been damaged and that their preeminence has been lost to other areas of the world."
The board observes that the people entering the workforce today with graduate degrees made the decision to study mathematics and science back in middle school. Thus it is very important to improve the perception of STEM disciplines by middle school and high school girls in order to encourage them to pursue these fields.
One essential aspect of our program is that we offer our presentations free of charge to any school district in the nation that applies. Although this allows us to reach even the most economically disadvantaged areas, it also means that we must rely on generous donations from sponsors to finance the traveling costs.
Each presentation is carried out by two MIT students who will travel to
a school district and present 15-25 times during their one week stay. Every trip costs an average of $2500 for the two students' travel and lodging costs. An additional $2500 is needed each year, for training sessions, presentation materials, correspondence, and publicity. We are currently looking to raise funds for a minimum of ten trips for 2015, or a total of $25,000.
All companies that financially sponsor the Women's Initiative will have their logo put on all brochures and presentations and at the end of the year's program, an annual report will be sent to the company representative. Company representatives are invited to come to most of our training sessions at MIT. In addition, if the company wishes, we will work to send speakers to areas where the company resides.
If your company is unable to help financially, you can still help out by donating small gifts bearing your company logo (i.e. T-shirts, pens, notepads). Our presentations are interactive and students are involved with hands-on activities and brainstorming exercises throughout the presentations. Giving away small gifts is a powerful incentive for students to follow the presentations closely and ask questions. We would appreciate any products you would like to donate for this purpose.
To become a sponsor, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.