STEM Mentoring/Educational Resources for a 12-year-old girl?
July 7, 2015 8:17 PM   Subscribe

Hi everyone, My younger sister is 12, very smart, and has expressed interest in becoming a scientist. She loves physics and astronomy, especially, but she may have some untapped interest in other scientific fields as well.

As her older sister (I'm 27 and know zilch about anything having to do with equations or numbers) I'd love to support her and maybe provide her and my parents with some resources on STEM education and mentoring as she looks toward college applications in the future. (My parents are both in sales, and my other sister writes, so we're not particularly well-equipped here...)

I'd love any leads on scholarships, grants, summer camps, after-school clubs, and other programs, especially any initiatives geared at young girls in STEM. She's biracial (Latina/Black) so I'm thinking there might be some programs of interest geared at girls/people of color, too.

Any science-y MeFites who can help -- please give a shoutout! Thank you!
posted by themaskedwonder to Education (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like you're in Los Angeles? Caltech has some outreach programs for kids. There are also several observatories in the area that you could take her to visit!
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 8:24 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I went to this astronomy camp when I was 12. It was absolutely wonderful. If your family can afford the tuition, it will be an excellent experience for her.

One day, while staying overnight in this observatory, David Levy stopped by and spent the night with us explaining fun stuff in the universe and reading us his favorite Shel Silverstein poems between telescope setups.
posted by phunniemee at 8:32 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

The American Library Association offers a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) book list for 6th to 8th graders.
posted by Little Dawn at 9:11 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

JPL has some public events as well, including an open house coming up in October.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:32 PM on July 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Local universities and research institutions (like JPL) will have open houses. There is also Cabrillo Marine Aquarium which is very hands on.

Public libraries are also getting into STEM with classes in 3D printing, for instance: Los Angeles Public Library.
posted by nickggully at 6:22 AM on July 8, 2015

These are mostly computer-y, but it's s tart:

Girls Who Code
Sylvia Show
Girls Make Games
A Parent's Guide for Getting Girls Into STEM Careers
Girls4Science (Chicago area only, but maybe they'll have some general helpful ideas)
RoboTech Center (NH-based, but again maybe helpful)

Also, the Girl Scouts have been pushing STEM topics for the last few years, if you can find a troop where the girls are interested in pursuing those interests.

This is a huge interest of mine. I've got more of these types of links stored in half a dozen different systems (hello, disorganized bookmarks), so I'll keep posting as I find them.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:58 AM on July 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Johns Hopkins University has a Center for Talented Youth that offers scholarships and financial aid. CTY programs include math and science in a variety of locations, and some of the summer courses may offer the option of testing for academic credit at the end of the course.

My general understanding of how the summer program works is that it can be very helpful to take an SAT prep course, and then take the SAT, and if the SAT score is within the range of the average high school senior, the student can attend a special summer class at a college campus. As an added bonus, training to take the SAT can be helpful for every other standardized test that a student might have to take during their education.
posted by Little Dawn at 2:49 PM on July 8, 2015

I asked an LA friend who suggested checking out JPL, the Natural History Museum, and the Page Museum (for a variety of different science interests). All of them offer summer workshops or internships. He also mentioned the Sally Ride foundation which funds some summer workshops for girls at Caltech.
posted by nat at 5:37 AM on July 9, 2015

Can you get her to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium?
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:13 AM on September 15, 2015

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