More than 100 girls and an equal number of mentors gathered for a day at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, to explore space and experience flight. The girls were introduced to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through a variety of hands-on experiences and virtual simulations. Those experiences were designed not only to capture their imaginations but also to help them understand, “Yes, indeed, you can fly.”

Collaborations and initiatives

This unique experience, called Girls and Mentors Soaring Together, was the result of a partnership between the Museum of Flight and TechREACH, an afterschool program focused on increasing student participation in STEM. The partners secured mini-grant funding from the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) to make this event possible.

Numerous programs and initiatives have focused on increasing gender equity in STEM fields, but many of these programs and their staff are isolated from others doing similar work. That prevents them from benefitting from the sharing of resources or exemplary practices as is necessary to make large-scale impact. By making collaboration a priority – in the spirit of collective impact – girl-serving STEM organizations, K-12 and higher education, professional organizations and industry can unite around one common goal: providing more effective opportunities for girls in STEM. By creating partnerships with others that serve girls and women in STEM, organizations can generate and carry out creative solutions and strategies that maximize the benefit beyond what one project or organization could accomplish alone.

“Those experiences were designed not only to capture their imaginations but also to help them understand, “Yes, indeed, you can fly.”

Flying together

“It was an amazing experience for all girls and women. I wished that such a forum had existed for me when I was 10 years old,” said Tracey Masterson, a Girl Scout leader at the event. “The presenters provided such vast insights into the world of Aerospace. But the most important message for our girls was clearly stated as persevere, follow your dreams and always move forward towards your joy.” The power of collaboration is significant and lasting. Girls from this experience have continued on and championed the spirit of collaboration they saw modeled for them that day. Together, we can show all girls they can, indeed, fly.