Dear Friends of the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative Project...
The countdown for the Spring 2016 Collaboration Forum & Role Models Matter workshop has begun. Make sure you register today!
Two Weeks Until Spring 2016 Collaboration Forum
Registration is now open

All organizations and individuals interested in the advancement of girls in STEM fields are invited to attend the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative's Spring 2016 Collaboration Forum on May 19th. Learn about exemplary practices for engaging girls in STEM, meet potential collaborators, learn some new ideas for hands-on STEM, and contribute your own thoughts and resources for how we as a community can support girls and girl-serving programs.

Anyone who is interested in STEM is welcome to join us: educators, administrators, industry representatives, non-profit groups, government agencies, students, etc. [NOTE: While young people are welcome to join us, Montana Girls STEM forums are designed for the adults who serve girls through programming, not the girls themselves.] University students can attend for a special rate of $5.

Many thanks to the Women's Foundation of Montana for sponsoring this event and for being champions of STEM!

This event is co-hosted by the West Region Transportation Workforce Center. Special thanks to our MSU and UM homes - MSU Extended University and spectrUM Discovery Area. Additional support provided by the Regional Library of Medicine via the MSU Library.

Free Role Models Matter Workshop May 19th
Register for the Pre-con ference session today
Join the Montana Girls STE M Collaborative for this free Role Models Matter workshop, a pre-conference session of t he Sp r ing 2016 Collaboration Forum. Techbridge's Role Models Matter is an initiative that prepares STE M professio nals and students for ou treach, and helps STEM providers think more about how to incorporate role models and mentors into their programming. 

Role models play a critical role  in creating opportunities for girls to envision a career in STEM. The Role Models Matter training is an opportunity to prepare organiza tion leaders, educators, volunteer trainers in how to increase and improve the quality of your organization's outreach to girls in STEM. 

During the training, you will:
-- Learn what elements contribute to an effective role model visit 
-- Practice how to integrate STEM careers through ice breakers, introductions, career showcases and hands-on activities 
-- Hear tips and techniques to engage girls in meaningful discussions 

T his work shop is offered in conjunction w ith the Montana Girls STEM Spring Collaboration Forum. Attendanc e at the collaboration forum is not required, though we sincerely hope you can join us for the remainder of the afternoon! 

To register click here.

Many thanks to the Women's Foundation of Montana for sponsoring this event and for being champions of STEM!  Special thanks to our MSU and UM homes - MSU Extended University and spectrUM Discovery Area. Additional support provided by the Regional Library of Medicine via the MSU Library.

Mini-grant Recipients
Check out our recently funded projects

We are pleased to announce the recipients of this year's mini-grants. Our Spring 2016 mini-grant program is sponsored by Techbridge with support from Montana NSF EPSCoR and Northrop Grumman. Please join us in congratulating our champions of collaboration. In no particular order:

Billings Public Library Girls and Science - Billings
The Billings Public Library, in conjunction with the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming, is offering a series of STEM programs that will be open to girls aged five to eighteen. The goal is to provide STEM programming for all interested girls in the community to show them that science is not just for boys. With help from the Girl Scouts, they will be recruiting role models who are currently working in STEM fields to work with the girls. They will also have displays in the library that feature women who have had made contributions to the many different fields in science with spotlight features on famous scientists who are Girl Scout alumnae.

LittleBigPlanet Club - Great Falls
LittleBigPlanet Club (LBP Club) is a program where Team KAIZEN - Montana's 1st PlayStation Certified Game Studio partners with local museums, recreation centers and colleges to provide students a mock game-studio environment where they learn about the interdisciplinary nature of the field. Team KAIZEN works avidly to teach students how the game design industry relies on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math through their educational partnerships. The company uses Sony's LittleBigPlanet 3 (, a game designed with fully accessible 3D art and programming tools.

Montana Gems - Butte
MT GEMS provides a positive, inviting and exciting atmosphere for girls to perform scientific experiments, design and build mechanical systems and learn new math skills. The girls have the opportunity to study biology, chemistry, physics, engineering, and mathematics along with designing projects to be 3D printed. They also learn team building skills. The GEMS program also encourages entrepreneurial activities so the girls can turn their creative ideas into a business if they desire.

Reed Point STEM Club - Reed Point
The purpose of this program is to stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering and math through the use of hands on projects such as robotics, rocketry, programming projects and more. This summers, the focus will be on robotics. Students will work individually and in teams as their projects progress, developing teamwork and collaboration skills along the way.

Series Promoting Early Exposure to the Engineering Design Process through Interactive Exploration with Female Role Models in the 4th and 5th grade Classroom - Bozeman
The proposed collaborative effort between the MSU Western Transportation Institute, College of Engineering student chapters, AWIM, and Irving Elementary will involve women engineering students in an outreach program designed to excite young children about engineering, emphasize the real world applications of math and science, and promote girls' interest in math and science courses from an early age. During the 2016-2017 academic year, Irving Elementary has dedicated a 6-week block in the Fall (4th graders) and a 6-week block in the Spring (5th graders) to implement this weekly one-hour STEM enhancement program.
STEM Stars
Seventh and 8th grade girls participate in new STEM program

"Girls in Science" (formerly Chicks in Science) was developed in 2008 to encourage grade school and middle school-aged girls to enter math- and science-related fields. The event routinely draws hundreds of participants and about 50 booths from area science- and math-based exhibitors.

This year the older girls (7th and 8th grade) also participated in a new program called STEM Stars, a morning event preceding Girls-n-Science. The STEM Stars program consisted of three 45-minute hands-on activities and allows girls to immerse themselves in science and engineering in more depth. The Girls-n-Science activities usually only last 5 to 8 minutes long, but with STEM Stars, participants interact with mentors and engage in a hands-on activity for almost an hour.

The activities included:

"What Does our Blood Pressure Tell Us?" led by Clair Oakley, RiverStone Health program director for Population Health Services.

"Hour of Code!" led by Katey Plymesser, MSUB assistant professor of engineering.

"Why Can't We Cure HIV?" led by Holly Basta, Rocky Mountain College assistant professor of biology.

Click here to check out the article from the Billings Gazette

Exxon Mobil Encourages Girls to be Mentors
Sixth grade girls participate in STEM demonstration for their peers at Girls-n-Science

A dozen sixth-grade girls from Bench Elementary School in Billings took on  the roles of chemical engineers and mentors on April 16 when  they presented a homemade lip gloss project at the annual Girls-N-Science event at Montana State University Billings. 

The daylong event, which annually draws between 600-800 elementary a nd middle school girls, is focused on providing hands-on and engaging experiences to encourage more intere st in STEM careers and education. ExxonMobil is a major sponsor of the event and employees at the Billings refinery provide a dozen volunteers each year. 

The refinery partners with Bench Elementary sixth-grade teachers and a select group of girls so they can step up as mentors for their peers on a STEM-based demonstration or project. The girls apply to be a part of the process, present ideas for a presentation and agree to volunteer at the event. The partnership start ed in 2014 with four girls and has grown to a dozen enthusiastic girls this year. 

Donning  "Fu ture Scientist" T-shirts and a working alongside ExxonMobil employees, the girls demonstrated  and  discussed with their young peers the chemical changes that take place in turning  petroleum jel l y and Kool-Aid drink packs into homemade lip gloss. Using a heat source to break down the petroleum jelly - and assisted by adults - the girls mixed the drink packs into the liquid material and then put it into small lip gloss containers for other girls. During the event, they were able to discuss their project, the chemical processes that took place and their experiences. About 400 small containers were made and distributed during the day. 

The girls were not only able to have fun with the science, but become leaders. As one teacher put it afterward, "Their confidence and love for science grew tremendously because of this."

Habitat Connections: Birds and Citizen Science
MGSCP brings Cornell Lab of Ornithology curriculum to Montana

In Fall 2015, the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was selected along with four other states to pilot test a partnership between the National Girls Collaborative Project and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Montana Girls STEM co-leader Suzi Taylor along with partner Amanda Obery of the Montana Environmental Education Association (MEEA) received training on the "Habitat Connections: Birds and Citizen Science" curriculum and got 20 curriculum kits, each valued at $100, to bring back to Montana educators. 

At the MEEA annual meeting on March 31, Suzi and Amanda trained 20 Montana educators from around the state and representing groups such as Yellowstone National Park, AmeriCorps VISTA, Montana Outdoor Science School and many others. These educators will then take the curriculum back to their own programs and use it with youth, giving feedback to the Cornell Lab. 

The March 31 training also included exemplary practices for engaging girls in STEM, as well as outdoor bird identification, which was covered in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. For more information, contact Suzi Taylor at or visit Many of the resources used in the training are freely available online.
Engineer That, Girl!
Girl Scouts participate in STEM event at UM

The day started with mingling, pastries, and juice. The Girl Scouts toured the informational booths, talked with science experts, and grabbed freebies to start home-grown creative projects. After a short kickoff presentation, the girls participated in at least six hands-on activities designed to inspire creativity and kindle scientific thinking. Each age group had specific design challenges to meet and different activities to enjoy. The girls built new toys, experimented with structures and electricity, and took home cool creations and prizes. Some of the stations included robotics, pH testing, hovercraft, rope strength, structural engineering, animal biology, clean energy science, ocean submersibles, and geology. 

What's Happening?
Upcoming Events in Montana

TECHIE TABLE: The Need for Speed
Every Thursday in May; 3-4:30pm
Need for Speed!  Come and participate in a model car derby with the help of the local Hot Rodders Club!
Cost: FREE
Darby Community Public Library

Montana Teen Science Cafe
May 12th; Pizza at 6:30pm. Talks at 7pm
At the national level, Teen Science Cafés are social events that are a fun way for teens to explore the big advances in science and technology affecting their lives. Teens and local scientists, engineers, and inventors engage in lively conversations and activities to explore a topic deeply.  The May 12th speakers are both MSU graduate students: Alex McMenamin, Molecular Biosciences, will speak about the viruses that make bees sick, and Madison Nixon, Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, will talk about how climate change is impacting Montana's wheat crops.  Both talks will be highly interactive, and teens are encouraged to ask questions and contribute new ideas. Hands-on activities will be part of the program, too. In Montana, TSCN is hosted by MSU Extended University and the Montana Institute on Ecosystems as part of its "Climate In My Backyard (CLIMB)" outreach program.
Cost: FREE
Bozeman Public Library

Montana High School Polarization Photo Contest
Entries accepted until May 16th at midnight
To enter the contest, take an interesting photo using polarization or showing the way a material interacts with the polarization of light. Then write a description of the science behind your photo and how you took the photo. The Grand prize winner of this contest with receive a trip to the NASA Kennedy Space Center (Orlando, Florida) in July 2016! Other honorable mention winners will get to visit to the Optics research laboratories at Montana State University in Bozeman during summer 2016. This trip will include lab tours, a campus visit, and fun learning activities! Both prizes include round-trip transportation, lodging, and access to key facilities. Each winner is invited to bring one companion, sharing accommodations. Incidentals (such as meals) will not be included. For more information visit: 

Explore Science 
May 18th; 5-8pm
The Stone Child College Library was one of two tribal college libraries selected to participate in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities. These educational materials from MSU-Bozeman's Extended University are used to spur interest in the science field and to attract young people into science professions. The materials used during this event are all about nanoscience, the study of especially small molecules. We will have 12 different experiments for everyone to try out. Please come join us for this event of learning and fun! For more information or questions, please call SCC Library staff at 395-4875 ext. 213/214.
Cost: FREE
Stone Child College Library

Little Big Planet Club - World of Game Design
June 27th - July 1st; 1:30pm-3:30pm
World of Game Design is a 5 day camp with hands on activities that teach the basic thought processes behind game design. Intended for younger attendees who are fascinated by games but not necessarily ready to code their own full blown projects. Some time will be spent on software creation, but most of the time is activities showing how systemic and creative thinking are required to be a game designer. Call 727 6099 to register.
Cost: $60
Great Falls

Aviation Career Exploration Academy
June 28th - June 29th; 1:30pm-3:30pm
The Aviation Career Exploration (ACE) Academy is designed to introduce high school students to aviation and
aerospace-related careers. Participants will venture on field trips to fun and interesting aviation activities, visit the shop floor of a state-of-the-art aerospace manufacturing plant, fly with Helena pilots in general aviation airplanes and much more. To apply submit a one-page essay on why you want to attend the ACE Academy, including your aviation or other career goals, and a letter of recommendation from an instructor/teacher or pilot. Application deadline is June 10th. For more information click here
Cost: $130 (includes meals, lodging, and all activities)

Little Big Planet Club - Advanced
July 11th - 15th; 1-5pm
Students will learn how to create digital game projects in LittleBigPlanet then iterate them according to the Cerny Method(which is used on many PlayStation Games). Students will create several prototypes and test them on peers to see how fan feedback shapes the game design process. Aimed at the beginners on up who want to understand how to take a game concept from idea to marketable end product. Call 727 6099 to register or online at 
Cost: $139
Great Falls

WTI Summer Transportation Camp
July 17th - 19th
The Summer Transportation Camp is an innovative summer program for high school students guaranteed to spark their interest in transportation through creative problem-solving and hands-on activities. Participants will have the opportunity to experience college life, explore career options, and improve their academic performance. Students gain skills in applied science and math, work together with their peers on design teams, and meet university and professional staff in the transportation field. If you are a rising 10th, 11th, or 12th grade student, join us for this year's Summer Transportation Camp! Visit to apply; They are still accepting applications.
Cost: FREE
Montana State University Bozeman

Create Math: Origami and Mathematics
July 25th - 29th; 9am-1:30pm; follow-up activity at the Science Mine on July 30th
This camp is for girls currently enrolled in 4th through 8th grade. The week long camp will focus on exploring mathematics through origami. Participants in the camp will design their own origami models. The camp is run by Mathematics Department faculty members Dr. Erika Asano, Dr. Laurie Battle, and Dr. Hilary Risser. For more information contact Dr. Laurie Battle Applications are due by May 30th, 2016.
Cost: $15 (for a t-shirt and snacks; includes lunch; scholarships available)
Montana Tech - Butte

MSU Science Math Resource Center
Aug. 1st - 3rd
The MSU Science Math Resource Center is hosting a summer "teaching engineering" workshop in Bozeman for teachers of grades K-8. The workshop will be led by an engineering professor and teachers who participated in developing the curriculum and in revising it based on implementing it in their classrooms. The workshop will immerse participants in NGSS- and CCSS-aligned engineering activities for grades K-8, teach the engineering behind the activities, and make curriculum connections to science, mathematics, art, and English Language Arts. Most of the engineering activities use commonly-available classroom materials, making this an affordable entrée into engineering. The workshop leaders will share examples of children's work on these activities from their classrooms. Apply at by July 11, 2016.  For more information about the curriculum, visit For more information about the workshop contact Mary Leonard at 
Cost: FREE

Little Big Planet Club - Creative Practice
Week 1: Aug. 8th - 12th; 12:30 - 2:30pm
Week 2: Aug. 15th - 19th; 12:30 - 2:30pm
This is the more artistically driven version of LittleBigPlanet Club where students learn the tools then make any kind of project that strikes their fancy. This version is targeted more at students who wish to create digital art and see how games can be a valid form of artistic expression. Call 727 8255 to register.
Cost: $125 for 1 week, $225 for 2 weeks
Great Falls
A word from your Volunteer In Service To America!
Hello STEM friends,

Back in February, I attended the CSAccess10k Capacity Building Institute in National Harbor, Maryland. The event was about making Computer Science Education accessible. If you would like to receive resources and news from the team at the University of Washington email me at They help teachers make the curriculum accessible and also have information on summer camps, scholarships, and research programs available to students.

February came to a close with a visit to Helena. Board member Sundi West scheduled a tour for the MGSCP team at S TARBASE, a DoD STEM program. Students in Helena and surrounding areas get to do  hands-on activ ities during school hours for a week. Thank you for the tour. 

While in Helena, I also attended the Girls STEM Round-up at ExplorationWorks!  I loved the keynote speaker who talked about how her experience as an actress has allowed her to be a better computer scientist. Just like an actress has to understand her character in a play, a computer scientists needs to be able to relate to their customer to make websites and software that are navigable. I got to meet the team (that includes some of our board members) that made this event possible...Great job!

And because February just couldn't get enough STEM LOVE, MSU Extended University ended the month with NanoDays, the biggest event for the smallest science. Middle school students got a VIP pass through all the NanoDays kits and MSU Nano research activities before the family event in the evening. The middle school students also went to a presentation by MSU researchers and got a take-home NanoDays kit. 

March opened up with the Serve Montana Symposium in Helena. I got to meet with all AmeriCorps and Serve Montana members. My favorite part was the Whole Community Disaster Simulation, a Montana-made award winning program that will reach more states in the coming months. My role was a 70 year old female survivor. My family had a beekeeping business. I know I should take this seriously but... we told the Humane Society that we owned Alaskan bees. They put them in the freezer for us while we gathered supplies and found a place to sleep. I highly recommend going through this training.  

In April I had the opportunity to visit Hardin High School and Browning Middle School for a rocketry outreach program with the University of Washington and the Flight Center in Seattle. We traveled around Montana for a week and built and launched different kinds of rockets. 

Now summer is just around the corner and with that comes more STEM opportunities. Way to go Montana. I am looking forward to hearing about all the summer camps and events.

Also, check out the blog I wrote for the National Girls Collaborative Project for National Women's History Month. I hope you enjoy it. Bye for now.