SAN RAMON — Passion, teamwork, innovation — these are the keywords for an unique and growing STEM program called ‘Techbridge Girls’.
Chevron is a proud sponsor of the afterschool program that began at Oakland’s Chabot Planetarium but has now grown to Title 1 schools in the Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.
Nikole Collin-Puri, the CEO of Techbridge Girls, says the program is “a compass or navigator that allows girls the time and resources to find their own potential.”
Earlier this month, Techbridge Girls was named the winner of a $100,000 Innovative Education Award. The annual award is presented to five non-profits throughout the U.S. and Canada who advance E-STEM, sustainable communities and youth empowerment.
The facts make Techbridge Girls mission so important.
National Science Foundation research indicates women are 1.5 times more likely than men to leave the STEM pipeline after calculus. In fact, women’s interest and participation in STEM starts to decline as early as the fourth grade.
“We also know from research that girls prefer subjects where they can see the impact they are making in the world, which is why it’s important early on to underscore the impact STEM can have on the community,” said Blair Blackwell, manager of education and corporate programs at Chevron. “Overall, we need a cultural shift where we learn to nurture and support girls in STEM the same way we tend to do for boys.”
Collin-Puri said equally important was her program’s emphasis on inspiring young girls from low income homes.
“Techbridge Girls, inspires girls of color from low-income families to discover their passion for STEM,” she said. “Through our gender and culture responsive after-school and professional development programs, we empower the next generation of girl innovators and leaders to change the world.”