GLOBAL STEM ALLIANCE (GSA) – 1000 GIRLS – 1000 FUTURES
The New York Academy of Sciences (the Academy) is making a three-year, million commitment to target the STEM workforce of tomorrow by accessing the world’s most valuable resource: its women. 1000 Girls-1000 Futures is an enterprise of the Academy’s Global STEM Alliance to support 1,000 high school-aged girls interested in STEM fields by pairing them with mentors who are members of the Academy, and managing their one-year mentorship experience. The Academy will launch an initial pilot in 2015 with 300 girls and add new cohorts of 300 girls in 2016 and 400 girls 2017.
Each girl will receive one-to-one mentorship from a female STEM graduate student, postdoc, or professional. They will be matched through a robust online platform, which uses career path profiles and learning objectives to create suitable mentor-mentee pairs and provides data on mentorship progress.
Additionally, participants will complete online programming for foundational skills development (e.g. communication, leadership) in areas integral to STEM success in academic and professional arenas. Furthermore, participants will develop cross-cultural competencies to help them become global leaders, targeting areas such as awareness and planning.
The Academy will develop, fundraise for, and be the lead organization, including coordinating and providing tech support to develop each girl’s mentorship experience. The Academy will match mentee and mentor, monitor the progress of mentor-mentee pairs, and compile data on mentorship progress. Each student’s progress will be tracked as they move through the program.
Annually, the Academy will host a Program Summit designed to foster networks and future collaboration by bringing that year’s cohort of mentees and mentors together at the end of their mentorship experience. This multi-day event will include networking opportunities, leadership training, presentations, and panel discussions. Thus, each cohort and their mentors will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, discuss research, investigate career pathways, and continue to hone their foundational skills development.
Project Kickoff (October 2014) – Establish regular working relationships with partners, enact communication activities around launch, hire one to two staff positions, form of advisory group, establish benchmarks for activities.
Identify Cohort One Mentees & Fundraising (Oct – Dec 2014) – Create selection rubric, publicize opportunity, choose selection committee/nominators, vet nominees and choose Mentees, create application process and collect baseline evaluation information, complete joint fundraising activities.
Online Programming Planning (Dec 2014 – March 2015) – Plan online programming activities including webinars, live stream of events, trainings, and workshops.
Identify Cohort One Mentors (Dec 2014 – March 2015) – Create profile of needed Mentors, publicize mentoring opportunity, create selection rubric, establish selection committee, complete application process, vet nominees and choose Mentors, match Mentors and Mentees, and collect baseline evaluation.
Program Summit Planning (Dec 2014 – June 2015) – Choose venue, arrange logistics, design themes and goals for Year One Summit.
Placement and Orientation (March – June 2015) – Modify training protocols, match Mentor-Mentee pairs, establish goals for each pair, schedule and conduct orientation workshops, conduct first meetings between pairs, and establish regular communication patterns between pairs.
Ongoing Activities (June – Sept 2015) – Ongoing mentor/mentee communication and individual activities, conduct ongoing evaluation activities with Cohort One.
Refinement (June – Sept 2015) – Refine and conduct Cohort Two recruitment activities, recruit Cohort Two participants, vet nominees and choose participants, match Cohort Two Mentor-Mentee pairs, analyze Cohort One evaluation/assessment data.
Cohort Two Planning (June – Sept 2015) – Plan Activities and Summit for Cohort Two.
Program Summit (July 2015) – Execute Program Summit for Year One.
Placement and Orientation (Oct – Dec 2015) – Placement and orientation for Cohort Two pairs, establish goals for each pair, schedule and conduct orientation workshops, conduct first meetings between pairs, and establish regular communication patterns between pairs.
Ongoing Activities (Months Oct 2015 – September 2017) – Conduct activities for Cohort Two, conduct activities for Cohort Three, execute program summits for years two and three, set up and execute final program evaluation/assessment data.
There is a growing worldwide need for professionals in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and a great opportunity to recruit women into these fields. Unprecedented changes, including urbanization, population growth, and climate change, increasingly threaten economies and quality of life. According to a recent World Bank Study, information and communications technology can effectively reduce poverty, create jobs, and contribute to overall economic growth (World Bank, 2012). It’s estimated that by 2018 in the U.S. alone, 75% of all jobs will require STEM expertise, with the same trend playing out in countries around the world (Achieve, Inc., 2012).
And yet students, particularly women, are not pursuing careers in STEM fields at a time when these skills are most needed: women earn 50% of all college degrees, yet only 20% of these are in STEM fields. There is a vital need for mentorship to support women seeking to go into STEM fields. Mentoring has known benefits for women in science, yet the mentoring rate for men is higher than for women: 49% of men reported having a mentor as compared to 32% of women (Ledin, Bornmann, Gannon & Wallon, 2007). Mentoring of female students, both formal and informal, is a significant tool correlated with higher mentee advancement, compensation, job satisfaction, and personal satisfaction (Ragins & Cotton, 1999; Ambrose, Dunkle, Lazarus, Nair, & Harkus, 1997; Dreher & Ash, 1990; Fagenson, 1989; Turban & Dougherty, 1994).
Currently, the Academy and its network of young scientists, engineers, and STEM professional mentors are inspiring thousands of middle school, high school, and college age students around the world. With this commitment, the Academy aims to apply the benefits of mentoring relationships to inspire and engage the next generation of female STEM leaders.
The New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) has accomplished each item listed on their commitment. The pilot year of the program welcomed its’ first cohort of mentors and mentees in October 2015 and ended its’ first program cycle in September 2016. In the first year, the program reached approximately 300 girls from 12 countries, and engaged as many female STEM professionals as mentors from 17 countries. 70 of the mentees and 20 mentors came to New York in July 2016 to meet face-to-face at the first annual Global STEM Alliance Summit.
In the pilot year, the program surpassed many set goals, such as number of countries reached for recruitment, number of mentor applications, engagement in the online programming, and number of webinars and online events scheduled due to great enthusiasm of mentors.
Year two of the program commenced in October 2016, and there is now a second cohort of 320 young women from 38 countries enrolled, each receiving 35 hours of programming and year-long mentorship. There are also 253 female STEM professionals engaged as mentors (some of the mentors repeated from year one and asked to mentor multiple mentees in year two).
The Academy continues to seek female STEM professionals to apply to be mentors in this program, as well as financial support and implementing partners.