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!
"Without community, there is no liberation...but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist."  -Audre Lord  

Black lives matter. While the National Girls Collaborative Project and its state and regional Collaboratives were created to address gender inequities, at our core is valuing, responding, and supporting the needs of all community members. We will be amplifying our focus on lifting up the programs and resources to dismantle systemic racism. Watch for more information distributing anti-racism resources that you can use personally and with the programs you serve.

Thank you to the National Girls Collaborative for allowing us to share these words.
Please subscribe to the NGCP newsletter for updates and resources.
Are you ok? Can we help?
Wow, the world sure has changed since we sent our spring newsletter on March 10. If you are facing challenges in your STEM programming or the ways in which you support youth, please let us know and we'll see what we can do to help.
The STEM Effect: Action Agenda for Assessing the Long-term Effects of STEM Programs for Girls is now available
The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was honored to serve as advisors for this National Science Foundation-funded project

The STEM Effect 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 . The action agenda includes creative approaches to better understanding these impacts of informal STEM programs for girls, and methods for measuring them. Visit the National Girls Collaborative site to read the report or listen to the Webinar in which the results are presented.
Girls Have No Limits program continues to inspire during COVID-19 shutdown
The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was selected for a national program called No Limits for Girls, which uses Matchbox cars to help combat the stereotype of what is typically a “boy toy” versus a “girl toy.”

Even though COVID-19 rapidly shut down nearly all youth-serving programs in Montana this spring, the Girls STEM Collaborative continued working with partners including the Montana Afterschool Alliance to distribute cars and programming to youth across the state. The Collaborative also created a collection of resources that could be used by families as they learned and were inspired at home. The flyer at the bottom of this article was created and utilized by the fifth grade teaching team in Livingston, Montana.

Other participants were Saddle Peak Elementary School in Belgrade , which distributed cars and resources along with school lunches at a drive-up station; Gallatin United Way , which continued emergency programming while serving the children of essential workers; plus Thrive and Gallatin Valley YMCA .

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.

To see the No Limits At Home learning guide, visit

For more information on the No Limits program, see https://ngcproject.org/nolimits
The flyer shown here was utilized by the fifth grade teaching team in Livingston, Montana as part of the No Limits for Girls program while working with their fifth grade students during remote learning.
Resources for educators
"Full STEAM Ahead" Montana educator conference will be virtual Aug. 12-14
Join in 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. This conference will be fully virtual.

✓ All 30+ sessions will be recorded & shared for 20-21 SY 24/7 access  
✓ Sessions will be interactive and allow for opportunities to connect &
network with educators from around the state
✓ Each day will end earlier & breakout sessions will be shortened to 1 hour
✓ Earn up to 20 OPI renewal units,  or  1 MSU credit for an additional fee
✓ Raffle prizes and resources will be shared throughout the conference
Conference registration just $100 for all three days, plus scholarship opportunities.

Code Girls United remote teacher learning program July 7-9
Thank you to Marianne Smith for sharing this! Code Girls United year-long after school program is expanding across the state. Remote Teacher Training is July 7, 8, 9. We have 2 spots open. If you know of any teachers interested in running a Code Girls United program, please contact Marianne Smith at m.smith@troutmoon.com. We provide training, support, and a stipend, plus the girls can participate in the 2021 NW Regional App Challenge (scholarship prizes of $5000, $2500, $1000). https://codegirlsunited.org/
Bozeman afterschool educator helps you make a lava lamp at home!
Thank you to LeAnne Grote, daytime para and afterschool program coordinator at Meadowlark Elementary School in Bozeman, for sharing these awesome science projects that you can do at home!
Boone and Crockett Club offers new STEM curriculum on trail cameras featuring Montana wildlife
The Boone and Crockett Club's Conservation Education program is happy to announce the arrival of its newest, electronic, environmental education STEM curriculum! This curriculum features the use of trail camera data using actual photos taken on the Club's Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Ranch just west of Dupuyer, MT. These four modules cover the basics of trail cameras, how to deploy and operate the cameras, why they are used and what species of wildlife can be found when using them in Montana! Topics include predator/prey interactions, antler development, private land issues, weather systems, population dynamics and more. All content aligns with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and are a perfect fit for teachers, educators and professionals wishing to get the next generation excited about wildlife and the outdoors using science, technology, engineering and math!

Look for the lesson modules at the Boone and Crockett Club's web store under eBooks or learn about all four modules in a bundle
Save the date: Montana Environmental Education Association will celebrate equity and inclusion at 2021 annual conference
At a time when it is most relevant for us to look at our biases and privilege when we educate in the outdoors, the Montana Environmental Education Association is excited to announce that their annual conference "Montana's Many Voices: Exploring Equity and Inclusion in Environmental Education" will be held at Chico Hot Springs on April 1-3, 2021. Registration will open Winter 2020. MEEA is looking forward to learning together while holding each other accountable to making the outdoors a more welcoming place. All are welcome! Learn more .
Women in STEM
Cool Career: Megan Moore, Human Geographer
Thank you to Megan Moore of the University of Montana and Montana NSF EPSCoR, who shares her career with girls in Montana! Megan is a research assistant, studying water quality and restoration on the Upper Clark Fork River, and a social scientist studying the Anaconda Co. Smelter Superfund site.

What do you do for your research?
As a graduate student, I have three jobs to juggle. The first job is going to class, learning just like any other student.

The second job I have is a Research Assistant. As a Research Assistant, I work on a large statewide project that focuses on the water quality and restoration of the Upper Clark Fork River. The Upper Clark Fork River has been affected by heavy metals, which originated from historic mining and smelting operations. We are trying to better understand the community dynamics related to these water quality issues.
My third job is my own research as a human geographer. A human geographer is someone that is interested in people and their connections/relationships to their environment. My research looks at the Anaconda Co. Smelter Superfund site. I talk to community members about their perspectives on the cleanup process. I am also interested in how their perceptions of risk, or how it feels to grow up, live, recreate, and work in an area with high levels of contamination.

Since I am a social scientist, I don’t work in a lab running experiments. Rather my work is a combination of fieldwork and computer work. My fieldwork consists of conducting interviews in the community I am studying along with spending time in the community in general- going to community events, public meetings, hanging out and chatting with people at cafes and restaurants. It’s pretty fun! Once I have done my interviews or surveys, I enter them into the computer to better understand them- studying the transcripts and surveys in a way- to make conclusions.

My work is important because it connects the social world with the environmental world. We are often able to assess the physical science questions such as how contaminated a stream is, what type of contamination it is, or how it affected fish or other animals. However, the social questions are often the most complex and become more interesting the further you dive in- questions like does the contamination bother the community, are there innovative solutions they use to cleanup contamination, or who has the power to make the changes.
 
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 went camping every summer with my dad and sister in the Sierras in northern California. I grew up outside of Chicago where the closest thing to a mountain or hill I had ever seen was a garbage dump. Most people didn’t recreate how we all do in Montana- we did not spend summers hiking, biking, adventuring, floating or the winters skiing and snowboarding. It opened my mind to how big the U.S. and world are and how much there is to explore. My favorite memories of these times were the smell of the forests, the endless activities we found (hiking, kayaking on the lake, getting lost, identifying flowers and trees, roasting marshmallows, the crisp air). These trips every summer made me feel that I had found my “place” in the West. I wanted to learn more about the environment and how I could better serve it.

I studied Political Science and Environmental Studies as an undergraduate but I was still unsure which direction to take my career. During my last year of college, as I debated where to go in life, my professor changed my mind. He was a 75-year-old man that jumped on a table and started flapping his arms like wings and yelling “I AM A SANDHILL CRANE” as he talked about their migration patterns and loss of habitat. It was at that moment that I felt no one else had ever talked so passionately about a topic. He confirmed a career studying the environment was what I wanted to do.

My journey was a long one, I collected native plant seeds and controlled invasive species in Illinois, I studied plants and sage-grouse habitat in Nevada, developed watershed restoration plans and built fish habitat in Michigan, I taught science education in forest preserves and native prairies throughout Illinois, and monitored streams in Montana, Idaho, California, Oregon, and Washington before coming back to graduate school. All of these experiences taught me more about ecosystems and the challenges they face, but often left out the important piece of the role we play as humans. This led me back to graduate school to see where humans and the environment connect.
 
Who were some of the role models, mentors or other adults who influenced you as a young person?
I had very supportive parents, teachers, and coaches growing up. They were not as familiar with the science realm but encouraged me to study what I enjoyed.
 
What advice would you give to a Montana kid who is interested in a career like yours?
I measure the success of my career by the change and the good I put out into the world. I do not measure it in the money I make, but rather how much I enjoy it. I encourage you to do the same! If there is something that is really interesting to you, like collecting and identifying insects or birds, learning about volcanoes, or searching for fossils, do it! Read about, watch videos on it, find camps or classes on it, and talk to experts about it.

I was the only one of my friends that left college and didn’t go work in an office. I felt that maybe I was “doing it wrong” because my job was outside. I did two AmeriCorps positions where I gained fieldwork experience such as collecting identifying native plant species, soil types, planting riparian vegetation, writing grants, and working with local communities. It is normal to not know your path now or in 5 or 10 years. Try, discover, and explore all of your interests- they may change over time.
If you are not interested in science right now, that is okay too, follow what topics you do find interesting!

"Remember that you are unique and special and whatever you are passionate about is what you should pursue, because we need more of that in the world."

STEM summer opportunities for youth
June 15 - Aug. 20. Helena. ExplorationWorks Summer Camps. Spend the summer as a scientist and explore the world around you with ExplorationWorks' Summer Camps! Camps available for ages 4 and up. Morning and Afternoon Camps Available For more information, visit https://www.explorationworks.org/summer-camps

June 15 - Aug. 21. Bozeman. Gallatin Valley YMCA Summer Camps are underway! Gallatin Valley YMCA and Americorps K-7th grade campers will receive STEM enrichment once a week at each camp and location. STEM enrichment is geared towards camp themes and may include field trips! 9am-4pm Learn more at https://www.gallatinvalleyymca.org/2020summercamps

Aug. 9-13 - Helena/Canyon Ferry Lake. Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake hosts 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 .

STEM Learn at Home opportunities
Montana Destination Imagination is offering a variety of simple and virtual Instant Challenges via their Facebook page. DI will be posting different Instant Challenges three days a week during June and July. Destination Imagination Instant Challenges are designed to help children understand that by working collaboratively and following their innate curiosity, they can approach any problem with confidence and tenacity. Instant Challenges can be performance-based, task-based or a combination of the two. https://www.facebook.com/MontanaDI/

Montana Outdoor Science School (MOSS) is offering Summer Camp To-Go while they can't host in-person camps during June. Kits include activities and materials for each day, nature journals with daily prompts, and an outdoor investigation for every day - all revolving around the theme for the week. The ENGINEERING IN NATURE camp kit is sure to get your STEAM wheels a-spinning! More info at  http://www.outdoorscience.org/summer-programs  

Montana Science Center offers virtual STEM. The Montana Science Center offers an array of virtual STEM programming, from preschool science to virtual Minecraft open lab to interviews with amazing women in STEM. Visit https://montanasciencecenter.org/discover/programs

Girls Who Code offers free weekly coding activities and a Virtual Summer Immersion Program. Check out the weekly activities . Interested in the Virtual Summer Immersion Program? Learn more and apply.
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