Florida Distance Learning Consortium
Girls Get IT! Newsletter Volume II Issue VII
February 2008
In This Issue
:: GGIT Celebrates Black History Month
:: Girls Can Have Beauty and Brains!
:: Bring Mad Science to your School or Home!
:: Visit Girls Get IT!!
:: Tallahassee Takes off with Math & Science a Huge Success!
:: Black College History Goes Online
:: Just for Teachers: "Teacher Talk"
:: Wham-O Kid Inventor Contest
:: Cool Career: Rocket Scientist
:: NEW Useful Links for Teachers, Students, & Parents!!
                                           Explore ~ Educate ~ Empower

African American's Contributions to STEM are Tremendous and Growing!

Florida Quality Counts
In recognition of Black History Month, Girls Get IT! would like to take this opportunity to highlight the achievements of outstanding individuals and organizations in the African American community. The Florida African American Education Alliance (FAAEA) is one of these exceptional organizations.  They recently held their Annual Issues Summit and Recognition Program in Orlando. This summit, held on January 20-21 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), was designed to recognize and celebrate the advancements, accomplishments, and successes of minority students, teachers, administrators and community leaders. Nominations were requested for these exemplary individuals from each school district, community college, college, and community organizations from across the state of Florida.  Winners were selected from among over 250 finalists.

One outstanding young female is Carissa White.  Carissa White is a Middleton High School student who has experienced academic success while taking an extremely difficult course-load. She thrives on a challenge and does not stop until she has met every objective and goal. As a member of her school's Biotechnology program, she has studied gene splicing, genetics, and DNA. She is a well-rounded student, participating in extracurricular activities, both in school and in the community. She is a member of the Future Farmers of America, National Honor Society, National Technical Honor Society, Future Business Leaders of America, and Key Club. In addition to being full of energy in school, she takes time out to volunteer with Metropolitan Ministries (homeless shelter). Within the ministry, she organizes the clothing distribution and the soup kitchen. Not only does she donate time to the needy, but she stays abreast of the latest political issues by becoming involved in political campaigns. Her talents extend to playing piano, softball, and volleyball. Within the next few months, she will be representing Middleton in the Miss Teenage Tampa Pageant. If Carissa had to name one weakness, she would say that it is math, although no one would believe it because she strives to maintain academic excellence regardless of the task. When she was experiencing trouble in math, she made it a point with the encouragement of her parents to seek help. She attended math labs at her local community college to ensure that her grade did not fall below her own expectations. Her current grade point average is a 4.4. As one can see, she does not allow a "can't do" attitude to penetrate her spirit.


The FAAEA was formed to partner with minority students, parents, teachers, educational institutions and communities to improve educational opportunities and students achievement. They are certain that if all of these individuals focus on "all that is good" minority students will be able to fulfill a prophesy that will inspire them to achieve their highest potential and beyond.


This year, FAAEA has created a program that will attract minorities to the field of aerospace and motivate them to participate in the fields of STEM. Through this program, the organization looks to change minority students' perception regarding their abilities in these fields.  With a positive attitude and support from the people around them, surely these students can go to Mars and back.


Project Director of Girls Get IT! Leah Cook recently witnessed the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor at Cape Canaveral and came away from the experience not only amazed at how far man kind has come in the past 100 years but excited to see where we can reach in the next century with the advancements in STEM.


With role models like Mae Jemison-the first woman of color to enter space-there seems to be a growing positive influence behind minority students. Jemison always followed her dreams, undaunted by the lack of positive role models in her field or roadblocks to women and minorities.  Her positive attitude and high achievements in the field of science is surely what landed her a position at NASA in 1987. Like the FAAEA, Jemison is committed to ensuring that science and technology fields represent full gender, ethnic and social diversity.


Julia Johnson, Chair of the Board of Directors of FAAEA commented on the importance of recognizing the amazing accomplishments of African American Women. "African Americans have a rich and profound legacy that has allowed our nation as a whole to enjoy an improved quality of life.  In acknowledging the significant contributions of minorities, it will inspire future generations to push further to reach their highest potential." With the help of Julia and the staff of the FAAEA, there is no doubt that Florida will be producing an equal to Mae Jemison very soon.

EuniceGirls Can Have Beauty and Brains!

By Eunice Cofie, Miss Black Florida USA 2008


Stereotypically, beauty queens are not seen as being smart or brainy. Society seems to think that the two don't quite go together. But as the reigning Miss Black Florida USA 2008, I am here to prove everyone wrong. You can have both brains and beauty. I have always had a love for science. As a young kid, I would wake up early just enough to catch PBS's chemistry show before the Saturday morning cartoons. This love has led me to earn a degree in chemistry/molecular biology, develop my own cosmetic line called Nuekie as well as pursue a career in medicine. My journey into the field of science has proved to be quite an interesting one. My first introduction to science was as a first grader at Bond Elementary School. My father heard that my school would be hosting a science fair and he thought it would be a good idea for me to participate. So my father and I came up with charting the growth of corn as a project. My dad helped me design and implement the project, from planting the corn seeds to measuring and documenting the growth of the corn stalk. To my surprise, entering the science fair was a success; I won first place! I believe that my father's encouragement and my win were just what I needed to boost my interest in the sciences.


The flame of my interest in science continued to grow! My parents later put me in an engineering/inventing-focused program on the weekends at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). I was so intrigued with the activities in this program because I had the opportunity to use Legos, which were the fad at the time, to create machines. As a final project in the program, we were told that we would have to invent a machine that could be useful to society. Well, I knew from personal experience at night that I would sweat a lot. So I figured that it would be great to create a bed with an internal fan to cool me down on those hot nights. I took the motor out my brother's paint spinner toy and put two popsicles sticks on the spinner. Then I placed my new fan in a mini-cardboard box bed and glued my net mattress on top. I popped some batteries in the motor, placed my Barbie doll on the mattress and turned it on. I was amazed; my fan really was in motion. Wow, talk about necessity being the mother of invention!


I was very proud of myself when I presented my invention to everyone in the program. It gave me a sense of pride within myself to take an idea and actually bringFlorida Quality Counts it into manifestation. I realized science wasn't has as hard as people thought and I learned how much I enjoyed it. Because of my confidence, I allowed myself to be exposed to various areas of science as teenager from competing in national science competitions to creating science exhibits for the local science center. Science has created endless possibilities for me. The same skills that I use in science, I can use them in any arena, including pageants. I deem it very important for parents and teachers to encourage girls to pursue careers in the field of science by exposing them to all that it has to offer. By doing this, we can ensure the closure of the gender gap of women in science, technology, engineering and math careers.

To learn more about Eunice Cofie, Miss Black Florida USA 2008, check out her website at www.missblackflorida.com or contact her at info@missblackflorida.com

Bring Mad Science to Your School or Home!


Mad Science is an international science enrichment program that has recently teamed up with NASA. Together they strive to emphasize the importance of science and technology hoping to inspire kids from a young age to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math related fields. They have succeeded to spark children's imagination with fun interactive programs such as in-class workshops, after-school programs, birthday parties, special events and summer programs. With a variety of programs they are able to tailor their programs to appeal to children ranging from preschool to middle school!


Long before 1993 when Mad Science was incorporated into a franchise; it began with two teenage boys, Ariel and Ron Shlien. They wanted to have fun while making money, so they started doing science shows for camps and birthday parties. And over 20 years later Mad Science has grown to the international program it is today. Its headquarters are located in Montreal, Canada and with locations across the United States and 22 countries world wide, Mad Science is bound to be located in your backyard. They have nine locations throughout Florida ranging from the Big Bend area to Miami. To find locations in Florida, Click Here!


In October, Mad Science launched programs in Duval, St. Johns and Clay Counties and has been growing at tremendous speed in Florida. In the near future Mad Science will be featured at the Home and Patio Show Feb. 28-March 2nd in Jacksonville, FL with a 2,000 sq. ft. Mad Science Laboratory. All across Florida Mad Science features after school programs with their partners, the NASA Academy of Future Space Explorers, in a number of schools. This academy is designed to ignite children's interest about Earth, the planets, and space. Mad Science is currently designing a series of workshops called FCAT PACK for Florida 5th graders. This new program will be introduced in fall 2008 to help kids excel in science portion of the FCAT.


Visit Mad Science online for information about how to bring their programs to your school or home. Their Web site gives details about additional benefits of the program, including live science show videos, locations of your local Mad Science representative, and Kids Club online-where your child can log on to win prizes, a science trivia challenge, and much more! To check out what Mad Science is all about, Click Here!

To visit GGIT! please click here

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spaceshipTallahassee Takes off with Math & Science!


On February 6th, Girls Get It! (GGIT!) and the Florida Girls Collaborative Project (FGCP) hosted the Tallahassee Takes Off With Math and Science forum sponsored by the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science in Tallahassee, Florida.


Community based organizations from across the Big Bend area attended the event and were joined by representatives from the Florida Department of Education and Cisco Systems, Inc. Participants were inspired by local high school senior Netia McCray as she told of her achievements in STEM and the creation of Science Days, an afterschool program for African American elementary and middle school students.  To find out more about Science Days, click here.


Those in attendance had the opportunity to meet and network with other local programs advocating gender equity in STEM education. They were also given the opportunity to explore our online Program Directory and register their respective programs. We currently have over 69 programs registered within the state of Florida and hope to have over 100 by summer. A number of new programs have been recently registered, Click Here to find a program in your area and begin collaborating today and receive a mini grant from us to get started!


Girls Get IT! would like to thank Crispers for providing us with an assortment of sandwiches and salads. Everything was delicious and we look forward to working with them again in the future.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities Memories Are  Online NOW!

hbcuDocuments dating back to the 1800's regarding Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) can now be viewed online thanks to a convenient digital collection recently made available to the public. The collection includes over 1,000 scanned pages and represents HBCU libraries first collaborative effort to make historic collections digitally available. The collection  also includes photographs, university correspondence, manuscripts, images of campus buildings, alumni letters, memorabilia, and programs from campus events.
These documents represent HBCUs as cultural, social, and political institutions from the early 1800's thru today, and are a wonderful resource for the public.
To view the collection,
Click Here!

Just for Teachers: "Teacher Talk"

The Florida Department of Education and the Florida Education Channel have partnered together to provide Florida Educators with programming for teachers by teachers. "Teacher Talk" is a wonderful resource and will air its eighth installment this month, featuring an interview with Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith, coverage of a unique program being implemented by Palm Beach County National Board Certified Teachers, and the latest education news.  In addition they cover special resources for teachers and parents during each episode.


To view Teacher Talk online, Click Here! You can also catch the show on TV on the Florida Education Channel (DISH 9418), your local PBS affiliate, or by consulting your local education channel for broadcast times. To view past shows and broadcast schedules, Click Here!

Florida Girls Collaborative STEM Mini-Grants and Program Directory

Do you have a collaborative idea within STEM education and need some additional funds to assist you? If so, join our team and receive up to $1,000 for your support. All you have to do is sign up to become part of our statewide Program Directory, and collaborate with another organization that is also in the Program Directory. It's that easy! To sign up, follow the short instructions below and be on your way to making connections you never thought you would!
For a more in depth overview of our mini-grants, Click Here!
The online Florida STEM Program Directory lists organizations and programs that focus on motivating girls to pursue education and careers in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The purpose of the directory is to help organizations and individuals network, share resources and collaborate on STEM-related projects for girls. 
Organizations that serve young women and are interested in bringing more STEM resources to them are also encouraged to sign up!
The Directory contains program descriptions, resources available within each organization, program and/or organization needs, and contact information.  What better way to promote your program, resources and find other organizations in your area to collaborate with?

Having Your Program Listed in the Directory Has Several Advantages:

  1. Anyone with Internet access can find out about your program.
  2. You can view other programs in your area and across the state.
  3. Your organization can do a search and compare needs and resources in your area and across the state.
  4. Your organization is eligible for a mini-grant for innovative projects.

Don't wait - Sign up today! 

Here's How:

 Use the following instructions to create a new user account and then enter a program's information into the NGCP program directory.

  • Click Here!
  • Click "Register New User" which is located on the far left.
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"
  • On the next page, click "New Program"
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"

That's It!  Your program will be listed and can be searched by anyone with access to the Internet.  It's that easy!


Once a new program's information has been submitted and approved,  it will appear in the public Directory for anyone to search. 


What better way to highlight the great work in STEM that you are doing in your community!



In order to be eligible for mini grant funding, your program MUST be listed in the Program Directory.  Once listed, you are encouraged to submit a proposal for consideration of funding. 

Wham-O Kid Inventor Contest

Florida Quality Counts

For Wham-O's 60th anniversary they are hosting a Kid Inventor Contest in search for their next great toy. You may recognize Wham-O from classic toys such as Slip 'N Slide, Frisbee Flying Discs, Hula Hoop and much more! The company is looking to their audience, creative fun loving kids for innovative ideas. The winning prize is $2,000! Contestants must be between the ages 6-17 and turn in their idea to Wham-O by March 31, 2008. For more information about the contest and the competition rules, Click Here!

Cool Career: Rocket Scientist

Florida Quality CountsAprille Ericsson-Jackson was the first African American woman to receive a degree in aerospace engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and later a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Howard University. With all odds against her-being that this field was nontraditional to women and African Americans-her accomplishments provided amazing opportunities. She has paved the way for young women in science and is included among the "Top 50 Minority Women in Science and Engineering". In 1997, she received the Women in Science and Engineering award, given to the top engineer in the federal government. Ericsson-Jackson is passionate about advocating to women the importance of science and math, stating, "We must reach out to the biggest population of math and science underachievers - girls." She currently works for the guidance, navigation, and control design analysis section at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Maryland. 


Aerospace Engineers are the driving force behind aircraft development and space exploration-they design, develop, and test aircrafts, spacecrafts, and missiles.  Aerospace Engineers who focus on the aircraft are called aeronautical engineers and those working with the spacecraft are astronautical engineers. These people are our modern day 'rocket scientists'.


Because of the growth in commercial aircrafts and space travel, these modern day rocket scientists work to develop superior aircrafts that are quieter and more full-efficient. Another area of importance is the development and administration of safety regulations related to air travel. These jobs will contribute to a 10% growth of employment opportunities in the next decade, with positions available at the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the military.


Aerospace Engineers earn an average salary of $58,000, and the highest 35% in the field earn well over $100,000. There are many aspects of Aerospace Engineering that do not focus on commercial aircrafts and spacecrafts. The possibilities extend to military fighter jets, helicopters, missiles and rockets. Aerospace engineers become experts in their field as well as aerodynamics (motion of air), thermodynamics (relations between heat and mechanical energy), and control systems. For more information on Aerospace Engineers,
Click Here!
What is Girls Get IT?
Florida Girls Get IT is a partnership between Florida Distance Learning Consortium, Cisco Systems, Inc.,  Florida's Community College and University system to create gender equity in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) & Information Technology (IT).
Why Does Florida Need This Initiative?
To remain competitive, Florida must offer a highly trained workforce. Nearly 75% of future jobs in the United States will require the use of technology, yet fewer than 33% of students in computer courses are female and women comprise only 20% of IT professionals and 13% of engineers.
Contact: Leah Cook, Project Director
Phone: 850.922.3359
Fax: 850.922.3109
Useful Links for Teachers, Students, & Parents




The Exploratorium site offers great hands on lessons in a variety of science fields. It is guaranteed to catch your students' attention in the classroom! Click Here!


Wired Science


Are you a high school student and want to win $2000? PBS & Wired Science has teamed up to host a science video contest. Wired Science is looking for creative ways to present chemistry equations, math formulas, etc. March 15 is the registration deadline. For more information, Click Here!






This site offers useful links and information to help students of all ages get through those tough homework problems. There is even a study break link when you're ready to take a break and play games. Click Here!


Super Kids


This site is full of fun, yet challenging games for students. Games like Battleship, Tic-tac-toe, checkers, and scrabble can all be found here, and best of all-they're all free. Click Here!


One Tough Job
Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs in the world. This site provides parents with the expert information, tips and support they need and deserve to be the best parent they can be. Click Here!
Kids Health
Have questions about your child's health? This site has tons of information about children's health, including general health, nutrition and fitness, first aid, and behavior. Click Here!
Florida Distance Learning Consortium | Girls Get IT! | Tallahassee | FL | 32310