Together, the Academy and GSUSA will plan, design, and implement a nationally scalable program, based on the Academy's Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program (ASMP), which places volunteer scientist-mentors in Girl Scout troops to teach hands-on, engaging STEM lessons.
The goal of the project is to develop pilot programs in three regions in the United States, training up to 24 volunteer scientist-mentors per year, who will be placed in 12 troops of 20 middle-school girls, and deliver 24 hours of instruction to each troop. In total, the partnership will train 72 mentors per year, who will, with 36 adult Girl Scout volunteers, deliver approximately 18,000 hours of enrichment instruction to 720 students in 36 troops.
Once funding is secured, the commitment's first 18 months will be organized into three phases: 1) feasibility and scoping; 2) program and pilot design; and 3) implementation and evaluation. The second 18 months will be dedicated to a cycle of program delivery, evaluation, and refinement, resulting in a scalable model that GSUSA's 112 Councils can then adapt and adopt.
The Academy launched the ASMP in the fall of 2010, and quickly provided proof-of-concept when over 120 mentors volunteered at over 90 afterschool programs across New York City. The ASMP currently operates in five regions with a diverse array of partners, including 25 universities and more than 100 community-based organizations. The Academy has developed expertise in managing large-scale partnerships, implementing a training and support program for hundreds of scientists each year, and an understanding of the importance of excellent teaching and learning all along the STEM pipeline.
GSUSA offers scale (300,000 middle-school girls nationally), reach (representation in every zip code in the country), a network of 800,000 volunteers, 112 councils with a deep understanding of their local communities, and a national leadership development curriculum tied to the Common Core State Standards.
June 2013 - March 2014: Joint fundraising activities
March 2014-June 2014: Conduct feasibility and scoping activities, including asset mapping of STEM education resources; building community and university partnerships; modifying existing curricular materials; and creating formal linkage agreements with local partners. Hire regional staff positions, including regional coordinator and faculty liaisons. In addition to New York, NY, potential pilot sites for the regional expansion are Dallas, Phoenix, and the Bay Area.
July 2014-October 2014: Train regional staff. Develop recruitment plan, local Advisory Councils for each site, and curriculum choices. Conduct cohort-building activities. Agree upon day-to-day activities and program plan with local partners. Finalize evaluation plan. Plan an on-going digital engagement program with participating Girl Scout troops.
November 2014-December 2014: Recruit and train mentors and Girl Scout volunteers. Conduct youth-development workshops and cohort-building activities. Secure supplies and necessary legal requirements for working with school-aged children.
January 2015- June 2015: Place mentors in Girl Scout troops within 3 cities/regions with ongoing evaluation, training, and support functions by GSUSA, Academy, and local staff. Impact numbers of running the half-year program are projected to be: 36 scientist-mentors, 360 girls, 18 troops, and 18 Girl Scout volunteers, for a total of 414 participants.
July 2015-January 2016: Program refinement and implementation. Impact numbers of running the full-year program at three pilot sites are projected to be: 72 scientist mentors, 720 girls, 36 troops, and 36 Girl Scout volunteers, for a total of 828 participants. Curriculum will be made available to all Girl Scout Councils.
February 2016-December 2017: All three regions run refined program. Impact numbers of running the full-year program at three sites are projected to be: 72 scientist mentors, 720 girls, 36 troops, and 36 Girl Scout volunteers, for a total of 828 participants.
Excellence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) is crucial to twenty-first century citizenship; without it, individuals will be unable to participate in the increasingly knowledge-based economy, dooming them to low-wage, low-skill jobs (National Governors Association, 2007). Yet despite the United States' abundant scientific resources, its public-school children still struggle in the sciences, lagging by most measures of scientific literacy. This achievement gap grows for minority students-many of whom live in educationally underserved communities-and girls, who begin to lag behind in fourth-grade science, a gender gap which only increases with age. Although more women attend and graduate from college than men, and comprise 48% of the U.S. workforce, they hold only 24% of STEM jobs (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2011).
The goal of the partnership between the New York Academy of Science' (the Academy) and the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is to encourage more girls, through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) to learn more about STEM and consider related careers. The partnership will accomplish this by providing participating girls with STEM role models and hands-on, inquiry-based STEM curricula rooted in and incorporated into the broader GSLE program. In addition, the partnership will support Girl Scout volunteers by matching them with Academy volunteer STEM experts, who will serve as mentors and co-instructors to the girls. The Academy and GSUSA hope to create a sustainable program long-term that GSUSA's Councils, of which there are 112 nationwide, can individually adopt and adapt. The partnership will provide targeted, ongoing support to the participating Councils, and will take advantage of the GSUSA's existing infrastructure as well as the Academy's extensive, global network of scientists and experience in training graduate students and post-doctoral fellows in the sciences to serve as mentors and role models for youth
The Girl Scouts of the USA and the New York Academy of Sciences are seeking the following types of resources for the commitment: funding; partnerships with local university and professional STEM organizations in the three pilot cities/regions; and technical assistance in scaling issues and the use of technology.
The Academy has nearly 25,000 members worldwide, competencies in managing large-scale, multi-sector partnerships, and expertise in teaching and mentoring. Partners can engage with the Academy around any of these resources. GSUSA has 3,200,000 million members (girls and volunteers), the ability to reach girls in every zip code in the country through 112 local councils, and expertise in leadership development for girls.