The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative seeks to unite and support educators, parents, professionals and other champions of STEM so we can engage and inspire the next generation!
Free Webinar March 25: The STEM Effect
NGCP National Webinar: The STEM Effect: A collaborative action agenda for understanding the long-term impacts of STEM programs on girls
March 25, 2020, Noon Montana time

The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was honored to serve on the advisory board for this National Science foundation-funded project! The STEM Effect project is a collaborative effort to engage cultural organizations around the U.S. in developing a Collaborative Action Agenda for better understanding the mid- and long-term impacts of informal STEM programs for girls. This webinar will discuss creative approaches to better understanding these impacts of informal STEM programs for girls, and methods for measuring them. Read more and register.
This custom car cut-out photo booth was created by Mike's Custom Graphics in Great Falls and was a huge hit for middle school girls who also learned about famous women in the game industry.
Dr. Christine Lux of Montana State University's Department of Education takes the students of Child Development Center on an imaginary car ride before they opened the Ewy Rozqvist Matchbox cars and built a racetrack together.
Girls Have NO LIMITS takes Montana by storm!
The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was selected for a national program called No Limits, which uses Matchbox cars to help combat the stereotype of what is typically a “boy toy” versus a “girl toy.”

The program was developed by the National Girls Collaborative, Mercedez-Benz and toy-maker Mattel, which created a Matchbox car to commemorate a grueling 1962 road race that was won by a woman at a time when women barely participated in—let alone won—such competitions. The car – a 1962 Mercedes Benz 220SE—was driven by Ewy Rosqvist as she became the first woman to compete in and win the Argentinian Grand Prix, shattering records and the notion that women could not compete. The goal of No Limits is to show children, particularly young girls, that they can aspire to be and do anything they desire. Be sure to watch the i nspiring story of Ewy Rosqvist and see the equally inspiring video of girls learning about Ewy and receiving their own commemorative car.

Check out two awesome Montana programs below:
First off, the blog entry by Josh Hughes of Ingenium ( the nonprofit side of Add-A-Tudez Entertainment Company in Great Falls) is a MUST READ . Josh and his family and colleagues have been breaking barriers and challenging stereotypes for years as they bring young people into the fascinating world of video game development.

"As it turns out, when the social stigma of ‘girls don’t get to do that’ is removed, girls love games and race cars just as much as boys. When they’re given safe space to do so, they are just as driven to shoot for the stars, break records and bring their voice to industries, hobbies and subcultures," writes Josh in his blog entry.

At MSU in Bozeman, early childhood educator Dr. Christine Lux engaged the preschool students of Child Development Center in dramatic play, pretending to race a car around a track with twists, turns, and near crashes. The students also listened as MSU post-baccalaureate student Betsy Funk read The Racecar Alphabet  by Brian Floca. Next, Ewy Rosqvist’s model car was presented, and each child got to take a car to the carpet and build a racetrack together. The tracks were made of colorful tape in interesting shapes and patterns and tunnels and bridges were constructed with paper towel tubes. The children added people figurines as the crowd, and some children suggested making a victory flag. Children's knowledge of racing was impressive, and their engagement with the cars will continue to unfold over the next several weeks as the materials were added to the classroom to extend play and learning.

In our next issue, you'll learn more about partner activities from the MSU Science Math Resource Center , spectrUM Discovery Area of the University of Montana, ExplorationWorks in Helena, Helena College , and the Montana Afterschool Alliance .

For more information on the No Limits program, see https://ngcproject.org/nolimits
Northwest Regional App Challenge is May 2-3 in Kalispell
The Northwest Regional App Challenge will be on May 2/3 at Flathead Valley Community College. It's open to girls in 4th - 8th grade. They can create any type of coded project as long as it's presentable Science Fair Style and also solves a community problem.

Last year was a huge success with the winners even getting recognized on the house floor in addition to winning the scholarship prizes.

For questions, contact Marianne.Smith.CGU@gmail.com or 406-407-0201.
STEM News and opportunities
STEM Billings is now STEM Yellowstone!
STEM Yellowstone:  Thank you to STEM Yellowstone partner and Montana Girls STEM Advisory Board member Dan Carter of ExxonMobil in Billings for this report!

Over the course of the past year, given the interest of regional schools in our STEM efforts, STEM Billings has become STEM Yellowstone (County). This collaborative effort from business, education and nonprofit partners sponsors events on Saturdays a few times throughout the year and they are a blast. Check out  the STEM Yellowstone website,  which is managed by volunteers from the Yellowstone Tech Alliance . The model is now at a point where it can be replicated in any community in Montana if you have the critical mass of planners to get things worked out ahead of time. Dan's main words of advice? DO NOT  make activities “school on Saturday.” Design them for relevant and interesting hands-on activities.
Women in STEM
Cool Career: Mari Eggers, Environmental Health Scientist
Thank you to Mari Eggers of Montana State University and Montana NSF EPSCoR, who shares her career with girls in Montana!

What do you do for your job?
I am an environmental health scientist. People in this career study how the pollution we put into the environment comes back to us and harms our health. I work with communities to understand how water pollution and climate change are hurting their health. Then we work together to come up with solutions to better protect the health of both community members and the environment.


What did you like to do as a young person? At what age and how did you know you wanted to be a scientist?
I grew up in a very rural region back East. We had many square miles of forest around our house, so my brothers and I spent lots of time exploring the woods. As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to work outdoors and do something for the environment. When I got to college, I discovered I also loved learning about how different peoples around the world relate to nature, whether they farm or fish or gather and hunt their food. Health care also fascinated me. It took me years to figure out that I could study and work on all of those things as an environmental health scientist.

Who were some of the role models, mentors or other adults who influenced you as a young person?
When I was a child, most mothers stayed home full time with their children and there were very few women scientists – luckily for us kids, my mother was one of them. She taught biology at a local college and did field research in the summers. My dad was also a scientist. He loved to rebuild old cars for a hobby and had a whole shop full of tools. He made sure all three of us kids learned how to use tools.

What advice would you give to a Montana girl who is interested in a career like yours?
If you love both working outdoors and with people, if you care about the environment and about healthy communities, environmental health could be a good career for you. In high school, take all the math, chemistry and biology you can – and anything else that really interests you. If you enjoy many different school subjects – you don’t have to decide on just one subject in college, you can study environmental health and take many kinds of courses. There are jobs in this field in every county health department across Montana, as well as in hospitals, colleges, businesses and industry – so there are lots of choices of places to work.

Partner spotlight: Glacier Children's Museum
Glacier Children’s Museum wants to create a space where families can play and learn together with educational, hands-on exhibits and activities. We are a 501(c)3 and currently raising funds and working toward finding a permanent location in our community. Once a space is found and funding is acquired, we will begin fabrication of larger permanent exhibits and implement programs to grow our organization into a fun, hands-on learning destination. GMC is offering awesome community events - be sure to check out their Website and Facebook page!
STEM events
March 14 - Bozeman. Women in STEM at Montana Science Center. Join 8 local women scientists and engineers for experiments, activities and more to celebrate Women in STEM. Learn about their different careers and experiment with each of them! Included with admission or membership; for all ages. 11-2pm. www.montanasciencecenter.org

March 25 - MSU-Bozeman. Women Serving in the Peace Corps. Strand Union Building 168 Noon -1pm. Since its inception, women have been part of the Peace Corps, empowering other women around the world through both direct and indirect actions. Join three Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who will discuss their experiences in the Peace Corps and their hopes and actions for women’s empowerment around the globe. See more upcoming Sack Lunch Seminars from the MSU Women's Center at http://www.montana.edu/women/

Wednesday, March 25 - Belgrade. Belgrade STEAM Expo, Science Fair and Juried Art Show. Belgrade Middle School West Gym. Free and open to the public. 6pm to 7:30pm. http://belgrademiddleschool.oursciencefair.com/

April 2 - Bozeman. April Showers? Code Some Flowers. Campers will learn to code, using different tech and software in the STEAMlab, including Scratch, and Micro:bit. Grades 2+. 9am to 3pm. www.montanasciencecenter.org

April 3 - Bozeman. Friday Fun Day at Montana Science Center. Campers will play with 3D printed puzzles and toys and work on designing and printing some of their own! Grades 2+. 9am to 3pm. www.montanasciencecenter.org

April 4 - Butte. Montana Junior Academy of Science meeting. ( Deadline March 15 ). The Montana Junior Academy of Sciences values pre-collegiate scientific research and provides a forum for students to share their research and have an authentic encounter with Montana scientists.  http://www.MTJAS.org

April 18 - MSU-Bozeman. Expanding Your Horizons: A Day of STEM for Middle School Girls. Registration will be open March 16 at http://ato.montana.edu/eyh/

April 20-21 - Lewistown. Montana Envirothon. The Envirothon uses the outdoors as an alternative to classroom learning. In this natural setting, students become aware of the many environmental problems that exist today. Working as a team, they learn to use critical thinking and problem solving skills to arrive at solutions to specific environmental problems. The competition is open to grades 9-12, and covers five natural resource issues-Aquatics, Forestry, Soils, Wildlife, Range and a current environmental issue, which changes annually. Visit the Montana Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation for information.

April 24 - Applications due for MSU Explore Camp (see below).

May 2-3, 2020 - Kalispell. Northwest App Challenge. Teams of 2-5 girls in 4th-8th grade can compete to win scholarships up to $5,000! Apps, Web development and robotics. Projects should solve a community problem with background information, be demonstrable and provide technical details about code. Learn more at codegirlsunited.org .

July 24 - 28 - University of Montana - Missoula. STEM Camp for Girls. Learn fun skills in a supportive environment while improving your ability to draw, visualize, predict, code, and problem solve. Campers will learn what can be done with programming: build a web page, solve a problem, draw a picture, fly a drone, or create a game and will also enjoy topological puzzles and strategy games. For students entering grades 7-10. http://www.coehs.umt.edu/News/stemcamp.php

July 26-31 - MSU-Bozeman. MSU Explore: Earth & Space Science Camp  is a free 5-day summer camp sponsored by NASA and designed to encourage Montana middle school students to learn more about STEM. This camp is for kids who may not have attended a STEM camp or had access to an opportunity like this before. Students from low-income families and communities, rural areas, or those who will be first in their family to attend college are highly encouraged to apply. Applicants need to be entering grades 6-8 in the fall. Applications are due April 24, 2020 http://ato.montana.edu/explore/ .

Aug. 9-13 - Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake. All-Girls STEAM Camp: Crime Scene Investigation. Be part of this exciting girls-only camp where mystery meets science. This camp brings female campers into the mysterious world of crime scene exploration. Girls will learn how to process many different types of evidence, and even how to use DNA fingerprinting and gel electrophoresis to identify a culprit. Daily puzzles will challenge each student’s ability to think creatively. Sponsored by MontanaPBS. Many other STEM camps are available throughout the summer, too. Visit www.montanalearning.org .

August 2020 (exact dates TBD) - MSU-Bozeman. Math Problem Solving and Puzzles Camp. Week-long day camp for students who want to push themselves beyond classroom mathematics. Email smrc@montana.edu

Be sure to visit these partners for spring and summer programs!
ExplorationWorks - Helena
Science Mine - Butte
ZooMontana - Billings
Opportunities for educators
K-12 public school teachers: Take a survey on professional development and you could win a gift card!
Teachers, we want to hear your thoughts on professional development so we can better serve your needs! With support from Montana NSF EPSCoR, School Services of Montana and the MSU Science Math Resource Center are conducting a survey of teachers across Montana (must be currently teaching in a Montana public school). You can win one of four $100 gift cards and 20 $25 gift cards just for participating. Deadline April 17. Take the survey today!
Montana Environmental Education Association celebrates equity and inclusion at March 26-28 conference
The 2020 Montana Environmental Education Association conference will be held March 26-28, 2020 at Chico Hot Springs in Pray, MT.  

The conference theme is “Montana’s Many Voices: Exploring Equity and Inclusion in Environmental Education." The event focuses on providing educators with resources to ensure their environmental education is promoting environmental literacy to all demographics and incorporating the varied perspectives from across our state. Learn more . All are welcome!
Start a Girls Who Code club: Free afterschool program resources. Sign up by 3/31
Make an impact and bring free computer science learning opportunities to your community!   Girls Who Code Clubs   are  FREE  after-school programs for 3rd-12th grade girls to join a sisterhood of supportive peers and use computer science to change the world! Participants not only learn hard coding skills and computational thinking, but they’ll also learn project management skills, collaboration, bravery, resilience, how to positively impact their community, and so much more.

Girls Who Code Clubs can be led by teachers, parents, librarians, or other community members. When you start a GWC Club, you’ll gain access to free curriculum, activities, training, free t-shirts and a mini grant of $300 for each Girls Who Code Club to use for snacks, robotics, and other fun activities! There’s no computer science experience needed to get started since GWC is there for you every step of the way.

Want to learn more? Sign up before March 31st with the quick 10 min Clubs Application and you’ll have access to the full curriculum to help plan before the end of the semester. Welcome to the movement!
Raffle for teachers: Foldscope, the origami microscope, will award FREE Foldscopes to one lucky teacher and their classroom at the beginning of each month throughout 2020.

To enter you must do one of the following:

All teachers are eligible! Learn more
A week of STEM (and other) P.D. in Bozeman
Montana Afterschool Alliance statewide meeting
Aug. 10-12 - Bozeman

Afterschool & Beyond is a statewide conference for the staff of programs and organizations serving youth during out-of-school time. This conference is open to all school-based and community-based programs serving youth in elementary through high school during the school year and/or summer. Learn more.
Sci-Tech Summit for Teachers.
Aug. 12-14 - MSU-Bozeman.

Join in as we merge the Science Summer Institute and the Tech Summit for three days of professional learning with something for everyone! This year's theme is "Full STEAM Ahead" as we explore the integration of STEM and the Arts. Hosted by the MSU Science Math Resource Center and Southwest Montana School Services . Registration now open .
About the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative
The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was founded as an outreach program of Montana NSF EPSCoR and has co-leaders at Montana State University and the University of Montana as well as volunteer board members across the state. This material is based upon work supported in part by the National Science Foundation EPSCoR Cooperative Agreement OIA-1757351. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Suzi Taylor
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT
(406) 994-7476
Jessie Herbert
University of Montana
Missoula, MT
(406) 243-4828