GE Girls Kick-Off Helps Excite and Retain Interest in STEMM for Middle School Girls

Image of girls at the GE Girls Program kickoff

Women need to consider professional careers in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM). That’s why General Electric is working with CWRU to inspire 160 middle-school girls to consider to consider the science and technology fields. In late October 2014, the Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable (WISER) at CWRU’s Flora Stone Mather Center for Women’s and the Office of Corporate Relations partnered with GE Lighting and the Cleveland Play House to kick off the GE Girls program.

The program includes from 15 schools in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the First Ring Superintendents’ Collaborative (FRSC). FRSC is an association of suburban school superintendents whose school districts surround the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The FRSC was established in 2000 to address the unique poverty, cultural diversity and mobility challenges affecting students of First Ring school districts.

At the kickoff, Dr. Kathleen Buse, Faculty Director of Leadership for Women in STEM at CWRU and Lisa Ward, Manager of New Product Introduction, GE Lighting, talked the benefits of STEMM careers. Experiments and activities led by CWRU professors and graduate students engaged the girls and gave them hands-on experience. Surveys completed by the students indicated an overall 20 percent increase in interest in STEMM fields after the activity.

During the second half of the event, GE representatives introduced the girls to the Project-in-a-Box portion of the GE Girls program. The students will participate in monthly STEM-related experiments to help “solve the mystery of who is killing the crops of the local biofuel complex.” GE Lighting’s Women’s Network volunteers, with help from CWRU student volunteers, will attend activities located at the partner middle schools to assist the girls with experiments.