Passing the Torch to a New Generation of Leaders at Science Club for Girls
Beth O’Sullivan, Mary McGowan, and Shirby Best retire from SCFG Board
Science Club for Girls would not exist without the inspiration and support provided by founding board members Mary McGowan, Beth O’ Sullivan, and Shirby Best. Over the past twenty-five years, these women have led the organization through change and growth. As they each retire from the board, we honor their commitment and thank them on behalf of all the girls who have been inspired by our clubs these past twenty-five years.

In 1994, Beth O’Sullivan and Mary McGowan joined forces. An MIT-educated mathematician, Beth witnessed gender inequity in math and science in her daughter' elementary school and decided to take action. Together, Beth and Mary launched an after-school science program for girls and over time saw their vision grow into a full-fledged nonprofit with a board and staff. As one of the first board members to join, Shirby Best brought her experience as a social service professional and mentor to at risk youth in Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. During her service, she has championed our core values and promoted diversity within the clubs and on the board.
Beth and I had an idea and did some organizing, but the real energy comes from the girls and the scientists who have worked on the programs.
— Mary McGowan
SCFG Board Welcomes New Board Members
While the leadership and experience of all three will be greatly missed, Science Club for Girls is poised for the future.   Following on the heels of the appointment of  Bonnie Bertolaet  as Executive Director, we welcomed new board members  Tracy Accardi  and  Gretchen Fougere  and returning board member  Karen Page . More recently, we are welcoming Alejandra Carvajal and Sonal Patel to the board of directors. Each of these women has forged her own career in or supporting STEM, and together they are passionate about sharing their love for their fields with young girls in the community.
New Board Member Alejandra V. Carvajal currently serves as Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel to Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a public biotechnology company focused on immune mediated rare disease drug development. Before Momenta, Ms. Carvajal was Vice President and General Counsel of Cerulean Pharma Inc. Prior to that, Ms. Carvajal worked at Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company for over a decade, where she held a variety of legal positions of increasing seniority. Ms. Carvajal began her legal career in private practice with the law firms of Hill & Barlow and Day, Berry & Howard. Ms. Carvajal received a B.A. cum laude from Harvard University and a J.D. cum laude from The Georgetown University Law Center.
New Board Member Sonal Patel — former SCFG volunteer
is a dentist and practiced in the UK. After moving to Boston, she became involved with SCFG through her daughter who is a junior mentor. She saw firsthand how the experience of volunteering at the clubs, sharing the love of science with younger students and being around other girls, young women, and adult mentors who love STEM too, builds confidence in all involved. Sonal has been a volunteer with SCFG since 2017 and is passionate about ensuring all girls, irrespective of background have access to what a career in STEM might look like. Sonal holds degrees from The University of Sheffield and is a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow.
New Board Member Tracy Accardi has held executive positions with Johnson a nd Johnson, Covidien, GE, Philips, and Hologic. She is presently on the board of Maxim Integrated (MXIM), volunteers at the Pine Street Inn for people experiencing homelessness in Boston and has served on the board of Newton Wellesley Hospital (Partners Healthcare). Tracy earned her dual BS in Mechanical Engineering and Engineering and Public Policy from Carnegie-Mellon University and a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
New Board Member Gretchen Fouger is passionate about energizing students t o explore the awesome potential of the STEM/STEAM disciplines to transform their lives. She was senior leader at Engineering is Elementary at the Museum of Science and a K-12 educator. Gretchen was Associate Dean, College of Engineering, Boston University and founded three STEM educational programs, annually training and deploying 60 engineers to 3,400 secondary students nationwide. Prior experience includes roles at Duracell, Motorola and Pratt & Whitney Aircraft. She received a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from Northwestern University.
Returning Board Member Karen Page is new SCFG President and Board Chair
Karen has taken on the role of our new President and Board Chair. Karen is Senior Director of Clinical Biomarker Sciences at Pfizer and is past President of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association for Women in Science and Chairman of the Board for the MA chapter of the Junior League (JL). She is the recipient of JL Boston’s 2005 Active Volunteer Award, the 2006 Outstanding Manager Award, and the 2015 Sarah Lawrence Award for community service beyond the Junior League. Karen earned her PhD in Pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine.
Current Board Member Karen Whitney becomes Treasurer
A board member since 2018, Karen is President of The Sonder Group, an executive & scientific search services firm for life science companies developing breakthrough technologies. Previously, she was VP, Business Development at NewcoGen Group, a Flagship Pioneering Fund and member of the founding development team at Celera Genomics, the first company to sequence the human genome. She has held leadership roles at PE Applied Biosystems (Now Thermo) and Pharmacia (Danaher). She earned a BA in Biology from Colby College.
Existing board member Justin Brogden , i s joined by new and returning board members in championing the mission of fostering excitement, confidence and literacy in STEM for girls from underrepresented communities by providing free, experiential programs and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women mentors in science, technology, engineering & mathematics. Justin Brogden is a Title IX Investigator at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a child welfare attorney who received his B.A. in Psychology & Politics from Oberlin College and his J.D. from Boston College Law School. He is the Principal Attorney of Brogden Legal, a solo practice affiliated with Lawyers for Affordable Justice. A resident of Boston, he mentors youth in foster care.
Are you are interested in extending the legacy
created by Beth, Mary, and Shirby?
New SCFG President and Board Chair, Karen Page, asks for your help. “While our fabulous volunteers working in our clubs are critical to the success of this new phase of growth for SCFG, we also need people who are willing to serve on the board or on board-led committees such as the finance committee, the development committee, or the governance committee.” If organizational leadership appeals to you and if you are passionate about the mission of SCFG, please email us at .

End effectors — an aha moment!
In this club, the girls are studying rockets and have made ‘end effectors’ (in essence robot hands) out of styrofoam cups and string. Arabella is guiding a blindfolded Isabel through the task of using the end effector to pick up a pencil. This is simulating how Arabella might program a robot to do the task.
About Science Club for Girls
SCFG fosters excitement, confidence and literacy in STEM for girls from underrepresented communities by providing free, experiential programs and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women mentors in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. With women making up less than 24 percent of the STEM workforce, and Black and Hispanic women at less than four percent, SCFG addresses a critical need, offering a continuum of engaging activities in STEM for K-8 girls, leadership experiences for high school girls, and adult mentoring by committed women in STEM.