Pacific Northwest Girls Collaborative Spring Forum: Increasing Impact

Participants test parachutes

By Amy Hirotaka, Outreach Manager for the EdLab Group

The Pacific Northwest Girls Collaborative Project welcomed program managers, guidance counselors, business partners, technical professionals, K-12 teachers, and representatives from professional organizations and higher education to a professional development forum at Seattle University on May 13, 2013. The morning plenary featured a welcome address from Isiaah Crawford, Seattle University Provost, followed by a lively panel of undergraduate women majoring in STEM fields. After a speed networking activity and lunch, participants selected one of two afternoon breakout sessions: "Teach your staff and volunteers to facilitate science inquiry" or "Who wants to give you money - and why?"

Stephanie Lingwood (Girls Scouts of Western Washington) and Dr. Jen Sorensen (Seattle University) co-presented a highly engaging and interactive workshop based upon their NSF-funded project, "Inquiry in the Community." Participants experienced project curriculum which included designing, building, and testing paper parachutes. Participants also had the opportunity to identify specific behaviors staff and volunteers who work with kids can use to promote scientific inquiry.

In the concurrent session, Susan Howlett helped participants discover twenty sources of sustainable funding they may not have approached in the past, and how to find support year after year. They left her session with clearly identified prospects and the specific things to deliver to funders. Susan illustrated her recommendations with actual success stories and practical strategies for sustainability.

To close the forum, everyone reconvened to share takeaways from the breakout sessions. Participants left with many new connections and opportunities for collaboration to increase impact and engage girls in STEM.