NGCP Podcast: Inspiring Curiosity from Early Childhood to Break Gender Stereotypes

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The National Girls Collaborative Project podcast, "Empowering Change: Women and Girls in STEM", aims to shed light on the challenges faced by women and girls in STEM fields and explore actionable steps to foster gender equality and inclusivity. Our dynamic guests lead us through thought-provoking discussions, expert insights, and inspiring stories, we delve into the current status of women and girls in STEM, breaking stereotypes, and highlight effective strategies for taking action. Hosted by NGCP’s Director of Strategic Partnerships Nancy Scales-Coddington, we amplify the perspectives of women and girls in STEM, educate and inspire our listeners, and foster a collective commitment towards creating a more inclusive and equitable future. 

In our first episode, we explore the crucial role of early childhood experiences in shaping girls' interest and engagement in STEM. Our guest, Dr. Amanda Sullivan, an expert in early childhood development, shares insights on fostering curiosity, challenging gender stereotypes, and providing equal opportunities from a young age. She is the author of Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Childhood, a book exploring the various social, cultural, and psychological reasons behind persistent gender disparity in STEM fields. We will discuss the impact of early childhood experiences on long-term attitudes towards STEM and strategies to create an inclusive environment that encourages girls to explore and excel in STEM fields.

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Additional Resources

Picture Books to Break Stereotypes in STEM (and Beyond!)

5 Ways to Counter STEM Stereotypes in Children and Youth

Cheryan, S., Master, A., & Meltzoff, A. N. (2015). Cultural stereotypes as gatekeepers: Increasing girls’ interest in computer science and engineering by diversifying stereotypes. Frontiers in Psychology.   

Master, A., Meltzoff, A. N., & Cheryan, S. (2021). Gender stereotypes about interests start early and cause gender disparities in computer science and engineering. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  

Sullivan, A. & Bers, M.U. (2018). Investigating the use of robotics to increase girls' interest in engineering during early elementary school. International Journal of Technology and Design Education.

Amanda Sullivan

Amanda Sullivan

Amanda brings over a decade of experience in education, research, and advocacy for girls in STEM to her role as Senior Program Developer at NGCP. She is passionate about breaking gender stereotypes and providing all children with equal access and opportunities to succeed within (and beyond) STEM from an early age.

Amanda is the author of the book Breaking the STEM Stereotype: Reaching Girls in Early Childhood and co-author of the ScratchJr Coding Cards: Creative Coding Activities for Children 5+.  Amanda has a Master’s and Ph.D. in Child Development from Tufts University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology & Drama from Bennington College. She is happily married to her college sweetheart and a proud mom to two energetic children and one lazy cat.

Nancy Scales-Coddington headshot

Nancy Scales-Coddington

Nancy Scales-Coddington is passionate about creating dynamic partnerships and engagement opportunities, bringing awareness to STEM projects that broaden participation of traditionally marginalized audiences. She has worked as a STEM advocate in museums, classrooms, and public media for over twenty-three years. She is an award-winning producer, pushing boundaries in digital and social media content. Nancy is a science communicator, practicing, teaching, and lecturing at universities and organizations globally.

She has served as a science advisor and trainer on museum exhibits and PBS series including Climate Change, SciGirls, Hero Elementary, and Mashopolis. She has been part of the Science Teachers Association of New York State for over a decade, serving in various roles. Sharing how girls can reach their potential through a variety of available STEM career paths is at the heart of her work. Nancy calls the Finger Lakes of New York home, residing in Ithaca where you can find her outside hiking with her dog, paddling, or skiing.

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