LACI’s Middle School Girls in STEM Program is focused on building out a pipeline for future female innovators in the STEM + Sustainability space, a complement to LACI’s Women in Cleantech Program, focused on advancing female founders with distinctive support and resources. Women are underrepresented in clean technology due to several barriers, including the dearth of women role models, the perception that it is a male-dominated field, and a lack of encouragement from educational institutions to pursue cleantech careers.
Engaging Middle School Youth
LACI aims to directly address this challenge by lighting a spark for middle school girls – particularly those from underrepresented groups and in disadvantaged communities – to learn more about sustainability challenges at a young age and find their agency as problem-solvers. LACI’s Middle School Girls in STEM Program inspires girls through hands-on prototype development to address real-world problems, community engagement, and ultimately, solutions for global climate change.
The program engages middle school girls around the relevance of school (especially math and science) to future achievement and gives them the opportunity to learn more about the climate crisis and ways they can make an impact, now and in the future. In 2020, we launched our inaugural Middle School Girls in STEM virtually, engaging 22 talented young innovators at 2 partner schools. Pre/Post Survey feedback from the girls highlights a marked increase in scores around “I can be a STEM Professional if I want to be.” One of the girls highlighted that the program changed her perspective because “it showed me more girls are needed in the program and how important it is to support one another and care for mother earth.”