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Fox Lane Girls in STEM Club Brings Hands-On Science to Mount Kisco Elementary School Girls
members of Fox Lane High School's Girls in STEM club
After noticing there were fewer girls than boys in their engineering classes, Ally Burg and Angela Tarallo started Fox Lane High School’s Girls in STEM Club.
“It was difficult getting the club off the ground, but it was very rewarding to finally see our idea become a reality,” Ally said. “We began our club by primarily promoting it to girls who took engineering. In just one year, our membership has risen to over 25 girls. The club now has members of many different backgrounds who take a variety of courses, but we all share a passion for STEM.”
The club’s primary goal is to offer an outreach program designed to get younger girls interested in and excited about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“We planned to go to local elementary schools and do STEM-related activities and projects with third to fifth grade girls,” Angela said. “We want to change the assumption in our community that only boys are expected to pursue STEM fields.”
The club was prepared to begin its first program last spring when schools abruptly shut down because of COVID. Taking it in stride, Girls in STEM adapted while meeting virtually. Instead of an in-person program, they focused their efforts on creating a website for K – 8 students with instructions for STEM activities that could be done at home with household items.
“The process of creating the website was a lot of fun,” Ally said. “We decided to make the website to reach elementary schoolers in a digital way. We split up the workload into three different age groups. Alex Griffin, who is now the junior vice president, formatted the website. We also made a promotional video that includes all the members of the club, which was a lot of fun filming, scripting, and editing.”
This year, the club has gotten even closer to its goal of connecting with younger students thanks to virtual workshops with Mount Kisco Elementary School students via Google Meet. Eleven third through fifth grade girls attended the first meeting, building towers with guidance from their high school mentors.
Before the meeting, Girls in STEM provided MKES with bags of supplies containing a limited number of straws, index cards, paper clips, and mailing labels. After doing some ice breakers in breakout rooms, the younger girls used the materials provided to design and create their towers.
“It was amazing to see the different creations the girls made with a time constraint and limited materials,” said Angela. “The MKES girls were great. All of the girls seemed to enjoy it and, while some were more prone to struggle than others, the high school students gave tips and ideas along the way.”
MKES Principal Inas Morsi-Hogans was thrilled for her students to have the opportunity to work with the high schoolers.
“My hope is that through this program, elementary girls will become exposed, intrigued and fascinated through hands-on experiments with STEM,” she said. “The high school students are passionate about educating younger girls and I believe that is where the promise of possibility lies.”
As for Girls in STEM, they have learned a great deal through this process.
“We learned that things will not always work out the first time and life sends you many unexpected challenges,” Ally said. “But through perseverance and adaptability you can still have something great!”
“As a club, we adapted and continued to go after our goal of encouraging girls to pursue STEM despite the obstacles,” she added.
The Girls in STEM Club’s next meeting with MKES third through fifth grade girls will be on Tuesday, March 2, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. While the meetings are only for MKES girls at this time, anyone with a BCSD account can visit the Girls in STEM website for activities: https://sites.google.com/bcsdny.org/flhs-girls-in-stem/what-were-about?pli=1&authuser=2