After learning that children in elementary schools in California receive on average 30 minutes to an hour a week of science instruction in school; discovering that many after school science programs were either too expensive or not facilitated effectively; and learning how greatly underrepresented females are in the country’s fastest growing, lucrative industries science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Tiffany Sprague and Courtenay Carr Heuer, mothers of young daughters decided to do something about it.
Through a grassroots effort, Tiffany and Courtenay, experienced professionals in nonprofit management, started Scientific Adventures for Girls (SAFG) to address these problems head on. They deemed out of school time as a critical opportunity to spark, grow and sustain interest in these fields. They especially think it is important to start engaging children as early as kindergarten in STEM to start making it natural, acceptable and normal for girls to love and excel in STEM.
Tiffany and Courtenay envisioned a space for girls to develop their natural curiosity, intuition and creativity while learning practical skills and connecting them to real world applications through fun, handson activities. They also envisioned classes intimately situated so the girls can practice asking questions, making predictions, experimenting and collaborating with peers in a supportive, vibrant environment.
Tiffany and Courtenay want to continue offering girls-only programs to provide this space for those families who desire this unique experience. They have plans, however, to expand the program further to add co-educational classes. The challenge to close the gender and minority achievement gap is an all hands on deck effort and requires creating a new, balanced dynamic where boys and girls from all backgrounds can flourish alongside each other and have opportunities to collaborate and learn from one another in safe, respectful environment.