STEM Summit is coming to Bozeman Aug. 8
Please join us!

The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative is proud to be part of the team that brings a statewide STEM Summit to MSU in Bozeman on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. 

Given our complex and changing world, Montana needs today's youth to be critical thinkers who can tackle modern challenges. Expanding learning in science, technology, engineering and math-STEM-builds the knowledge and skills necessary for more Montana youth to be college and career ready.

Montana Afterschool Alliance (MTAA) and Montana State University are the Summit co-conveners.

The STEM Summit will bring together a wide range of STEM partners including K-12, higher education, business, policy makers, the informal science community, funders, and afterschool providers to define and discuss priorities and opportunities for increased STEM learning in Montana. 

The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative is well represented at the STEM Summit with several board members serving as panelists, facilitators and presenters. MT Girls STEM Champions Board member President Waded Cruzado is a featured speaker, and Champions Board member Jan Lombardi and Alison Harmon, dean of the MSU College of Education, Health & Human Development, are Summit co-chairs.

Register here using the password STEMSummit 
Have questions? Interested in being a sponsor? Contact

Great Falls Collaboration Forum a huge success!

The forum kicked off with a STEM team-building activity. Joining in on the fun are Montana Girls STEM board members Dan Carter, ExxonMobil (far left) and Wendy Wigert, Montana Conservation Corps (third from left) along with Collaboration Forum participants Rebecca Washko, AmeriCorps VISTA, and
Bouavanh Manicha, who runs a women's empowerment program in Laos and was visiting Montana as a special guest of  the Women's Foundation of Montana.

The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative's May 16th Collaboration Forum at Great Falls College-MSU was a huge success, with more than 40 attendees from across the state participating in speed networking, learning about STEM programs across the sta te, and becoming inspired by an amazing panel of girls from Great Falls High School .

Montana Girls STEM board member Wendy Fechter (left) was the local host for the meeting, and Shannon McInerney of STARBASE hosted the hands-on STEM activity
Board member Wendy Fechter o STARBASE was the local host for the meeting, and her colleague Shannon McInerney   led a hands-on STEM activity to build teamwork and demonstrate how youth can become excited about engineering. Presentations included Teresa Gunn of the McLaughlin Research Institute, Brenda Canine of Great Falls College-MSU's NANSLO virtual lab, educators from Science Action Club, Miss Montana Lauren S cofield; and Josh, Trevor and Cyndi Hughes of Add-A-Tudz Entertainment Company/Team KAIZEN (be sure to check out the amazing video they shared of a PlayStation visit to Great Falls). 

Board member Jan Lombardi of JML Strategy gave an update on the upcoming STEM Summit (see article above), Wendy Wigert of Montana Conservation Corps moderated the girls panel, and Suzi Taylor of MSU Extended University served as emcee.

Thanks also to Montana Girls STEM board member Laura Gittings-Carlson of MSU-Billings for attending and sharing resources. Additional support came from the Women's Foundation of Montana and the West Region Transportation Workforce Center.

If you attended the Great Falls Collaboration Forum and have a story to tell, please let us know! Did you find a new collaborator? Have you tried out a new idea? Have you connected with a colleague you saw at the Forum? Email

Nikki Andersen retires from ExWorks, MT Girls STEM board

Nikki Andersen, who has served on the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative's board since its launch, will be retiring from her position as ExplorationWorks Executive Director. 

We have appreciated Nikki's continued support and enthusiasm for growing STEM programs throughout Montana. Enjoy your retirement, Nikki! Below is a write-up from the ExWorks newsletter:

Nikki Andersen's many accomplishments and leadership have shaped the organization into the leading science center that it is today. From expanding education programs and bringing in nationally recognized exhibits, to forming a top-notch staff and stabling the organization, Andersen's accomplishments will have a lasting impact.

"ExplorationWorks has benefited from seven years of Nikki's leadership. She managed to improve the non-profit's financial viability, in addition to expanding the program offerings while growing awareness in the community. Even more importantly, Nikki was able to assemble an impressive staff to carry on the mission of Exploration Works. Her contributions are much appreciated." says Laura Clark, ExplorationWorks Board Chair. 

Kelly Posewitz, current Development Director at ExplorationWorks, has been promoted to Executive Director and will assume her new duties in July. 

MSU offers teacher workshop on NGSS Aug. 14-18

Montana State University's National Teachers Enhancement Network offers a week-long course that will help K-8 teachers build curriculum materials that align to the Next Generation Science Standards.

The course runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Aug. 14-18 at Willson School in Bozeman. Registration is $50 and enrollment is limited to 20 teachers. Participants can earn OPI renewal units or Continuing Education Units.

The course is taught by Gerry Wheeler, MSU emeritus professor of physics, and emeritus executive director of the National Science Teachers Association. Wheeler has served on advisory boards for Discovery Communications' Science Channel and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association as well as many other science and engineering-related organizations. He has also served as a consultant for nationally broadcast children's science, technology, engineering and math programming, called STEM, including 3-2-1 Contact and Walt Disney Educational Media Productions. He lives in Bozeman and is president of the non-profit Quality STEM Education.

The National Teachers Enhancement Network is an MSU program that offers online graduate courses, non-credit learning opportunities and free resources for teachers. The program has served more than 22,000 teachers since its launch in 1993.

Register for the course or learn more at or contact Kelly Boyce at or (406) 994-6812.

News from spectrUM Discovery Area

spectrUM's new museum in Missoula opened at 812 Toole Avenue, with larger exhibit space, a large classroom for field trips and birthday parties, a drone net, Maker Space, and cozy nooks for quiet learning. Hours are 11am-5:30 pm Wednesday-Friday and 10am-5:30 pm Saturday.

On July 22, EmPower Place at the Missoula Food Bank hosts a grand opening. EmPower Place is a partnership between spectrUM, the Missoula Public Library, and the Missoula Food Bank, and is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

spectrUM and SciNation hosted a Science Learning Tent at the Arlee Celebration on June 30-July 1st and served 1100 people. 

The annual powwow, serves as a cultural highlight for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, as well as for visitors from around the region and beyond. At the powwow, the Science Learning Tent provides children and families with a fun, interactive place to learn, play and meet role models in STEM and higher education.  

Sponsors included O.P. & W.E. Edwards Foundation, the Department of Education, National Science Foundation, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and National Institutes of Health.

We love the Women's Foundation of Montana!

Many thanks to the Women's Foundation of Montana for supporting the Montana Girls STEM Collaborative in the past year. Our grant year ended July 15, 2017, and was a huge success! With the support of the Women's Foundation of Montana along with the National Girls Collaborative and the California Academy of Sciences, we brought 40 Science Action Clubs to 28 sites throughout Montana. 

Women's Foundation of Montana logo Our goal was to reach out specifically to Montana's most rural communities with hands-on STEM programming. The Montana Afterschool Alliance and Montana Environmental Education Association were big partners in recruiting an amazing group of out-of-school educators from 4-H, Boys and Girls Clubs, United Way, YMCA, libraries and schools.

Margy Dorr of Livingston's Links for Learning is just one example of the success of Science Action Club, a hands-on STEM program that  uses games, projects, and hands-on activities to help youth investigate nature, document their discoveries, connect with scientists, and design strategies to protect our planet. Science Action Club leaders receive in-depth training on SAC kits, activity guidebooks, and best practices for teaching STEM.

"I would always start each club by asking them to put on their citizen scientist hat, and from the get-go they were in the mind frame of speaking and thinking and listening like a scientist would," she said. Dorr added that she presented each SAC activity as that day's "mission," and that the students particularly enjoyed the owl pellet dissection, playing the role of ornithologists and inventing a backstory about the owl as they discovered each item inside its pellet.

Dorr said she appreciated that Science Action Club helped students learn to use different tools and scientific skills, including how to ask questions and find answers. "They found they were capable of carrying out investigations, and they learned that their voice does matter and that no one is too young to be a scientist."

Thank you, Women's Foundation of Montana, for believing in us and championing programs that benefit women, girls and communities!

Free STEM resources!

NASA's Universe of Learning astronomy education program celebrated National Women's History Month with the launch of an expanded  Girls STEAM Ahead with NASA  project (formerly the NASA Science4Girls and Their Families  initiative). Their Website includes many free resources, including downloadable posters of Women in STEM; hands-on activities; and access to Webinar recordings.

Planning a field trip for girls to a STEM workplace? Hosting a "Take Your Kid to Work" event at your University or Office? Ready to amp up your Role Model effectiveness?  Check out the tips, planning calendar and event checklist in Techbridge Girls' new resource the  Role Models Matter Field Trip Guide , and at their  website  with training modules featuring videos of real STEM role models interacting with Techbridge Girls' afterschool clubs.  NGCP is a partner on the Role Models Matter project, funded by a National Science Foundation grant.

The Connectory  is a database where families can find current STEM opportunities available in their area. Anyone with STEM programs can post them here. Let's get lots of Montana events and opportunities there!

The FabFems directory is a national database of women in STEM professions who are inspiring role models for young women. The FabFems directory is accessible to young women, girl-serving STEM programs, and other organizations that are working to increase career awareness and interest in STEM. Unfortunately, we have very few Montana women profiled here! You can create a  Fab Fems p rofile to expand girls' career options, dispel stereotypes and spark their interests - just by being you.

About Montana NSF EPSCoR

The Montana Girls STEM Collaborative was launched under and is supported by Montana NSF EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research),  a Montana University System program focused on stimulating sustainable improvements in Montana's research and development capacity and competitiveness in science and engineering research. Montana NSF EPSCoR partners with the National Science Foundation EPSCoR program to develop and manage strategic projects funded by competitive NSF EPSCoR awards to the state.  This material is based on work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant EPS-1101342. 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.