ALEXANDRIA, VA – Young females in middle and high school have the opportunity this Saturday, November 5th, from 9am – 3pm to gain a wealth of exposure and knowledge about S.T.E.A.M (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). The day, aptly named “Breaking Down the S.T.E.A.M Door”, focuses on educating and empowering young women to consider striving toward S.T.E.A.M careers. Taking place at The Garden Alexandria, it will be hosted by Ready, Set, Help, co-hosted by Building Momentum (who also donates the space) and with programs partner Pockets Change.
“I really want to do something to provide that exposure because even if they (girls) don’t go into it, at least they get that exposure, that experience to say ‘Ok, I kind of liked this, I didn’t like that.’ We give the session leads freedom to do what they want, and it all works out to show where the S.T.E.A.M. areas interconnect,” said Felicia Johnson, Founder of Ready, Set, Help. “To see women who look like you, makes the whole visual connection to them and ties it in for the rest of their lives.”
Research has shown that women are far less likely to graduate with a STEAM degree or enter a career in STEAM compared to their male counterparts. Women of color are even less likely to find the encouragement they need to pursue S.T.E.A.M. careers. Despite making up half of the workforce, women hold only 26% of jobs in S.T.E.A.M industries. The forthcoming event, Breaking Down the STEAM Door, is seeking to bridge this gap.
“This S.T.E.A.M event is one of the near and dear staples of the organization,” said Johnson. Other Ready, Set, Help projects include connecting with the homeless, providing them clothing and food to be able to survive the winter. Rebuilding neighborhoods and empowering youth are also part of their mission.
Students that attend will meet various women in S.T.E.A.M. careers and learn more about the impact of each industry by participating in various hands-on activities with program partners, including Pamela Capalad, of Pockets Change. She speaks of “money camps” she used to do which consisted of about ⅔’s boys, citing that parents did not tend to send their daughters to the financial education camp. She is on a mission to change that mindset, bringing more and more girls into the fold of financial comprehension at a young age.
Attendees will experience five small group sessions, led by women dominating in various S.T.E.A.M. disciplines. Pockets Change will cover topics including money personalities, spending values, and how to navigate financial systems. Students will also learn five steps to financial resilience. The day consists of three sessions in the morning, followed by lunch, then a guest speaker Claire Anderson of FOX 5 talking about her career as a meteorologist. The afternoon wraps up with the final two sessions.
Welding is a session offered in the engineering realm, but also crosses over into the science sector.
“Explaining the oxidation on metal, how colors change based on gasses that are introduced, mid-welding which is an argon CO2 gas used to shield your MIG wire…and when you weld you are creating plasma, the fourth state of matter which is never taught in school. So it explains you are making a star right in front of you, just like how the solar system has stars, as you are creating your name,” Cheyanne Dwyer, Chief Strategy Officer for Building Momentum.
The acronym S.T.E.M. was changed to S.T.E.A.M in 2020 to include the Arts, in order to promote curiosity and creativity at the core. The interesting transformation of the S.T.E.A.M mission can be found here, with the premise that art is tied into the S.T.E.M. studies. Many times crossover occurs among the sciences, technology, engineering, art, and math touching into everyday life.
Currently there are about 50 registrations, but room for more participants is available. Visit Ready, Set, Help to register.
About Ready, Set, Help — Ready, Set, Help is a community outreach organization whose mission is to be a change agent in the community through three platforms: Combating Homelessness, Empowering Youth, and Rebuilding Neighborhoods. This is achieved through community service projects and partnering with local non-profit organizations.
About Pockets Change — Pockets Change was founded to create financial literacy programs that are taught in schools, youth organizations, and one-on-one with parents and kids. PC is on a mission to change the stigma behind talking about money and educating children on financial literacy so that they are better equipped for adulthood. Inspiring financial conversations across generations, Pockets Change uses Hip Hop pedagogy to promote youth-led learning and professional relationship building for social impact “to address systemic issues of education equity and the racial wealth divide”.
About Building Momentum — Building Momentum is a Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) founded in 2014 by Dr. Albert Vega, Ph.D. and Brad Halsey in direct response to a problem they identified across institutions as diverse as schools, community groups and the military. They saw how institutions are held back by the same organizational structures that hold them up and wondered, “How do you teach ever-changing technology to people in an extremely fast-moving world while navigating staunch bureaucracies?”. Their answer was Building Momentum’s flagship Innovation Boot Camp, a week-long experience that trains participants in; 3D Printing, Laser Cutting, Welding, CAD, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, GPS, Drones, Counter-Drones, Robotics and Electronics and more. [SEE ALSO: Celebrate the Holidays in Alexandria]