Fitchburg State shares grant to expand Science Club for Girls
Fitchburg State University faculty member Aisling O’Connor and her partner agencies have received a $10,000 grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for their work with girls in grades 2-7 to increase their self-confidence and literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
O’Connor, partnering with the Cambridge-based non-profit Science Club for Girls, has been working on the project since January 2010. The program provides free 10-week after-school programs in science in the fall and spring semesters at the McKay Campus School in Fitchburg as well as the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster.
Women enrolled in science undergraduate degree programs at Fitchburg State University are recruited to volunteer as mentor scientists, teaching, mentoring and guiding the grade-school aged girls. The undergraduate students are encouraged to assume leadership roles and be positive role models for the younger girls. O’Connor is the program manager for the Fitchburg area clubs, with curriculum, material and training are provided by Science Club for Girls.
“Science Club for Girls has a very positive impact on both the participants and the mentors and greatly increases their enthusiasm for science,” O’Connor said. “I am delighted that this grant will allow us to offer clubs at additional locations in the Fitchburg-Leominster area.”
The grant will be used to fund part-time clerical support and for additional materials to expand the program two other Fitchburg Public Schools: Memorial Middle School and South Street Elementary School. The partners in the project are the Science Club for Girls, the Boys and Girls Club of Fitchburg & Leominster, and the Fitchburg Public Schools.
The Science Club for Girls resumes in October.
Since 1972, the AAUW’s Community Action Grants program have provided funding to individuals, AAUW branches and state organizations, and local, community-based nonprofit organizations for innovative programs that promote education and equality for women and girls. Special consideration is given to projects that focus on girls’ and young women’s achievement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Projects must be collaborative and female-focused and bring together AAUW branches, schools, and local community groups and nonprofits. They range from all-girl summer science camps to computer classes for homeless women to trainings on how to run for elected office.
“AAUW Community Action Grants empower recipients to be leaders in their communities and in the lives of women and girls through innovative ideas and programs,” said Gloria Blackwell, AAUW director of fellowships, grants, and international programs. “AAUW understands the power of local community impact to break through barriers for women and girls, and we put our money toward initiatives that align with our mission to advance equality for women and girls.”
Since 1888, AAUW has provided more than $90 million to 11,000 fellows and grantees. Read about this year’s awards on the association's website.
To find out more about this year’s exceptional class of awardees, visit the online directory. To reach an award recipient, call 202/728-7602 or e-mail email@example.com.