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Initiative aims to engage 1 million girls in STEM fields

Staff Report //September 16, 2020//

Initiative aims to engage 1 million girls in STEM fields

Staff Report //September 16, 2020//

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An effort to engage one million girls in the U.S. in STEM education is providing the S.C. Afterschool Alliance with a multiyear grant.

The STEM Next Opportunity Fund has teamed with the Intel Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to launch the Million Girls Moonshot. The organizations will provide grant funding and in-kind resources in all 50 states in an effort to increase access to immersive learning experiences in science, technology, engineering and math.

The S.C. Afterschool Alliance plans to use the recently awarded first-year S.C. grant of $55,000 to provide STEM resources, tools and strategies, according to a news release. That will include a design-based problem-solving competition called STEAMIFY in partnership with Augusta University.

“We’re proud to join the Million Girls Moonshot movement and plan to use this extraordinary opportunity to greatly increase STEM opportunities for youth in afterschool programs in South Carolina,” Zelda Quiller Waymer, president and CEO of the S.C. Afterschool Alliance, said in the release. “With scientists across the globe racing to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, and students and parents alike relying on computers and the internet to learn and work, it has never been clearer how vital STEM is to our children’s future.”

The Million Girls Moonshot initiative has a range of funding and programming partners including NASAQualcommTechnovationSTEMconnector and the National Girls Collaborative Project, according to the release.

“The Million Girls Moonshot harnesses the spirit of innovation — in philanthropy and in afterschool programming — to reimagine our nation’s next generation of engineers, problem-solvers, builders and makers,” said Ridgway White, Mott Foundation president and CEO. “We’re delighted that the Intel and Moore Foundations will join us in an effort to promote gender equity by empowering girls through STEM learning opportunities.”

The initiative is also providing the S.C. Afterschool Alliance and other state afterschool networks technical assistance and education resources, including access to Intel’s She Will Connect partners, to help meet educational needs during the pandemic.