Dear Friends of the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative Project...
We are excited to share with you the inspirational stories of STEM in Montana
Women's Foundation of Montana Supports Montana Girls STEM with $6,200 grant
Thank you Women's Foundation of Montana!

The Women's Foundation of Montana, a project of the Montana Community Foundation, has selected the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative as one recipient in the Foundation's $72,000 in new grants to organizations serving women and girls across the state. 

The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative will receive $6,200, which will support the Collaborative's MTCC AmeriCorps VISTA member, Deanna Linn; help host professional development meetings for adults who work with girls in STEM; and help launch a new project called Photographers for STEM. 

Several other STEM projects in Montana received funding, as well, including Montana Code School in Missoula and Montana GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) in Butte. 

Montana Girls STEM was featured in the press release announcing the grants and was also featured on the Women's Foundation of Montana Website. The quote read: 

 "As a grassroots and fairly new organization, the financial support of the Women's Foundation of Montana has been critical to our success," said Girls STEM Collaborative co-leader, Suzi Taylor. "The foundation's contributions served as the spark for new STEM programs for girls and helped us share best practices with adults from across the state. Just as much as we have appreciated the financial support, we are also grateful to connect with another organization that "gets us" and our challenges as a capacity-building organization." 
Thank you to the board members, staff, and many donors to the Women's Foundation of Montana for believing in our work! For more information visit

Board Member Update
Goodbye, JuDee O'Donnell!

JuDee O'Donnell with Girl Scouts of Montana & Wyoming is leaving the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative board as she transitions to a new position outside of the Girl Scouts. We thank her for her years of service and dedication to our collaborative and our mission. We will miss you! 


Montana Girls STEM mentioned on Amy Poehler's Smart Girls Blog  
The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was mentioned on Amy Poehler's Smart Girls, an online community that seeks to empower girls by emphasizing intelligence and imagination over fitting in. The project was founded by actor and writer Amy Poehler and producer Meredith Walker and currently has more than 1 million followers on Facebook. 

The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was included in an Oct. 20 article called "The future is bright for Montana women looking for STEM careers," which highlighted the research of Dr. Jessi Smith, a Montana State University professor and member of the National Girls Collaborative Project champions board. "Montana has been incredibly thoughtful in addressing STEM inequality for women of all ages," wrote Micah Nielsen, who listed the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative, Women for the Web, and Montana Code School as resources. "The opportunities for girls and women to gain the skills necessary to succeed in STEM jobs are increasingly more accessible." 

To visit the article click here.

"All Under One Roof" Journey
Missoula's vision for a new library and cultural center

In early October, representatives from the Missoula Public Library, spectrUM Discovery Area, the University of Montana, and the Missoula community travelled to Sweden to learn about the "All Under One Roof" model. They visited three cities and toured libraries and "culture houses." Culture houses are buildings that bring together museums, cafes, libraries, theaters, and community spaces under one roof. The Missoula group went on the trip to learn how these spaces can coexist, with the hope to bring this model home.

One of these culture houses is Diesel, a library, a coffee shop, a climbing gym, a museum, a theater, a working space, a dance and ceramic studio. From their journey, Holy Truitt, director of spectrUM and Collaborative board member,  wrote that they would like to replicate the main floor which houses an exhibit that brings "together fine art and child-created art in one space." She also mentions liking the ample space basked in sunlight throughout her visit, and the capacity the space creates to attract all learners.

Dr. Lisa Blank, UM professor and Collaborative board member, was also part of the trip. In the All Under One Roof blog, she writes, "each house provided safe and inviting spaces to create, understand, and celebrate culture."

We can't wait to see how the project develops and how the STEM space fits into the picture. 

To read more about the project visit their blog.

TECHIE TABLE Collaboration
Ravalli County Extension Mentoring Program &  the  Darby Community Public Library

Last fall, the Ravalli County Extension Agent and Herlene Rich attended the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative conference in Helena, MT. In collaboration with both the Ravalli County Extension Mentoring Program and the Darby Community Public Library, they setup the "TECHIE TABLE" to introduce Darby, MT youth to STEM challenges. Last year's activities included Lego Robotics, Arduino Love-O-Meter, Egg drops, Bottle Rockets, Spaghetti and Marshmallow structures, Balloon Racers, Pennies in a Boat and plating out bacteria.

They are continuing the Techie Table this year with the help of the Ravalli County Extension and a Northrop Grumman grant.  

The 2015/2016 Techie table challenges include: 
  1. September: Roller Coaster Physics
  2. October: Slimy Science 
  3. November: Lego Catapult Pumpkin' Chunkin' 
  4. December: Math Art 
  5. January: Lego NXT Destructo-Bot 
  6. February: Lovin' Art N Science (Candy Chromotography) 
  7. March: The Wonders of PI 
  8. April: Garbage Science 
  9. May: The Need for Speed (pine wood, valve cover derby). 
Last year, only a few children attended the sessions. This fall, the conference room is full every Thursday. 

Herlene, a retired chemist, is assisted by a retired biology teacher, physicist, and an elementary school teacher. They are very excited to bring different STEM challenges to after school students each Thursday. 

spectrUM Discovery Area in Motion
Montana spectrUM Science Experience (MosSE) 

SpectrUM Discovery Area's mobile science program has been on the road this fall visiting schools in Lodge Grass, Circle, Wolf Point, Sidney, Fort Benton, Charlo, and Lolo. More tours are scheduled in the fall and spring.

The latest stop featured in their blog was at Charlo Elementary School. During the day field trips, the students learned about the brain, the common cold, conservation of angular momentum, the Coriolis effect, and orbits. First the students entered the exhibit through the Big Sky Big Brain tunnel and looked for any brain injuries. They learned to diagnose a cold with the nose exhibit that just happened to have the sniffles. To learn about conservation of angular momentum, the students got to experience how a rotating bicycle wheel will spin the chair they sit on when they hold the wheel parallel to the floor. More physics concepts followed with the Turn Table exhibit and a discussion on the Coriolis effect. Also, the students got to use the Gravity Well to understand how orbits work.  There were several other exhibits during the day field trips that served 247 people. 

During the Family Science Night, Steph Gillin, a wildlife biologist on the Flathead Reservation, talked to several students and community members, and shared her brand new app. She also brought samples of pelts and skulls. The event was a big success with more than 180 people attending. 

To learn more visit their blog.   

Ways to Get Involved!
Opportunities for both individuals and STEM program providers

Become a   Montana STEM Mentor  by pledging  20 hours
in the year to mentoring a  girl  to pursue a  STEM  career.

Create a  Fab Fems  profile to expand girls' career options,  dispel  stereotypes
and  spark  their interests - just  by being you

Join the  largest portal  of  STEM  program providers and list your STEM events for families in your area looking to spark their  child's curiosity with STEM opportunities.

click on the logos below for more information


Resources & Upcoming Events
Check them out

Montana STEM Mentors summit: Promoting Leadership in STEM and Mentorship 
Nov 6th 2015, from 9:30-2pm
The summit will bring together Montana STEM Mentors, industry leaders, and education leaders to provide training, share best practices, and learn more about the issues surrounding STEM education. The event is hosted by Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, MT. Participation is free and open to the public. 

No School Camp: Cooking  Concoctions  November 13th 2015, from 9am-4pm 
Brought to you by the spectrUM Discovery Area in Missoula for students ages 6-9. Students can register by calling 406-728-STEM. More information about No School Camps can be found at

First STEM Billings Saturday Event: Flight November 14th 2015, from 1-4pm
All events are open to students in grades 2nd-6th. We need 30+ volunteers to help us make this program a fun, meaningful experience for our kids. The volunteer commitment is from 12:30-2:40pm. Volunteers will be assisting kids build hot air balloons, lunar rovers, and basal gliders. Volunteers will also help kids test their designs. We have many fun activities and presenters scheduled for the day. The event will be held at Mckinley Elementary school. To volunteer visit  

Biomimicry: Engineering Inspired by Nature Nov 17 2015, at 6:30pm
Did you know that the idea for Velcro┬« came from a plant? Join Science Educator Molly Ward to explore how nature inspires man-made design and how structure and function affect each other through several hands-on activities. Work together on a fun challenge to design and build a tool to complete a specific task. All school-age kids are welcome, and we appreciate adult help, so plan to enjoy a family night at the Bozeman Public Library. We appreciate your support! Questions? Give the Children's Desk a call at 582-2404. 

Montana Code School: 2 Day Coding Boot Camp  Nov 21 & 22, from 9am-4pm
Jumpstart your skills for web development with this hands-on, interactive, two-day workshop in Missoula. Learn the basic programming fundamentals of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Lunch, coffee, and snacks provided both days. Price: $150. Register at 

10kHrsMT Computer Science Education Week Dec 7-13, 2015
The 10,000 Hours of Code in Montana Campaign is an "all hands on deck" movement to connect mentors and resources to educators and students to deliver 10,000 hours of computer programming or computing instruction to Montana's K-12 students. Our big celebration is during Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13), but we'll continue to support and keep track of hours of code across the state until we reach our 10,000 hours goal. For more information contact Tiphani Lynn at 

UM Brain Bee February 27, 2016
The UM Brain Bee Competition for high school students held at the University of Montana, Missoula Campus is designed to inspire students to learn more about the brain and to pursue health-neuroscience related careers. Registration begins November 5, 2015. Students can learn the material on their own from a textbook that is freely downloadable from the internet and they can also participate in our 5-7 experiential Brain Training Sessions. Training Sessions start December 1, 2015. The UM Brain Bee format provides an avenue to encourage and reward students for the hard work they put into learning and studying about the brain by offering prizes including a trip for the winner and a chaperone to the National Brain Bee Competition in Baltimore, Maryland paid for by our sponsors. Visit or contact for more info.

Expanding Your Horizons at MSU, Bozeman April 9, 2016
A day of hands-on STEM for middle school girls from around Montana. Volunteers and STEM role models are needed. Contact Nicole Soll with MSU Extended University at

H ockey Scholar, Radius, and Ignition Courses
Everfi has three courses that can be used by any school at no cost (due to sponsorships from the likes of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the National Hockey League). check out the resources at 

A word from your Volunteer In Service To America!
Yay, we've got snow. That means it's time to take out my poncho. 

It's been a little over three months since I started AmeriCorps VISTA. I've met some wonderful people in Montana who truly care about STEM outreach, and I am honored to be part of the community. I have enjoyed talking to our board members from both the leadership team and the champions board. I've also had the chance to meet a few members in person, and I look forward to more visits. 

August started out with BioScience Montana*, an immersive health sciences year long program for high school-aged Montana 4-H'ers. The students visited MSU and got to work with MSU students and faculty to learn about various types of research and health science careers. I also visited the Livingston Food Resource Center, Montana Roots, and the Livingston HealthCare. I highly recommend touring the food resource center. It's a neat space, and there is a lot more going on than making sure people have food to eat. Very inspirational. 

In September, three other VISTAs and I organized a 9/11 service project to thank Bozeman firefighters for their work. Students from the KidsLink Afterschool program made thank you cards, and we delivered them on 9/11 along with donuts. I also went to Missoula for Role Models Matter training. I met with some of our board members, our co-leader Jessie, and other VISTAs. I will be traveling to other cities in Montana during my VISTA year, and I would love your input on who I should visit. Just send me an email to

October started with a warm visit from Jessie, the Collaborative co-lead in Missoula. Midway through the month, I helped bring NanoDays to MSU Family Graduate Housing's (FGH) Pumpkin Festival. MSU students volunteered their time to present seven Nanoscience and Nanotechnolgy demos. We enjoyed working with FGH and look forward to future collaborations. Also, I worked with Tiphani Lynn, the Million Women Mentors co-leader and Collaborative board member, on connecting schools, and libraries with Montana STEM Mentors. We have called this effort 10kHrsMT. October ended with Montana Campus Compact's Building Engaged Citizens conference in Great Falls. At the conference, I reconnected with VISTAs I had met at Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) in July. My favorite part was learning about Native American culture.

This has been a great introduction to STEM in Montana. I can't wait to learn more!


* BioScience Montana is made possible by Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded to Montana State University's Extended University, Montana 4-H Center for Youth Development, and the MSU Departments of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Immunology and Infectious Diseases.