Updated: Feb 28, 2022
GiSTEM, Inc. began on January 3, 2019. Since then, we have matured, progressed, and made it known that we are here to build a pipeline of future women in STEM. In November 2018, our founder was moved to start a nonprofit after hearing a speaker discuss the importance of making an impact. Instantly, she heard the name of the organization "Girls impacting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” A testament that visions can become reality, the nonprofit has thrived and now three years strong.
We have grown tremendously, from our first event (Summer Night Lights - RVA) held in 2019 to our events throughout 2021. In 2020, we had to reimagine how the organization would continue to push forth the mission and vision. The year 2020 was the time necessary to cultivate our programs and refocus the goals of the organization. During that time, our GiSTEMChats blossomed. We created our GiSTEMChats Series: College Prep in 2020. The series was designed to give ideas and suggestions to young girls transitioning from high school to college on how to navigate college during the pandemic. We shared our college experiences and had other young women who were attending college to provide insight on how to manage the new journey and handle tough conversations.
In 2021, we continued the chats and were able to invite STEM professionals to speak to our viewers about their journeys. Our speakers included individuals from all disciplines of STEM. They represented some of the most influential companies and agencies in the country such as NASA, Shell Oil, TikTok, Eaton, U.S. Air Force, Novetta. etc. The chats allowed our viewers to hear how the STEM journey can be difficult, but with a strong support system and organizations like GiSTEM, the journey is totally worth it! Support systems like these can make it little less intense. We had a total of 10 speakers join us for our GiSTEMChats over the year to share their journey. They shared takeaways for the viewers to remember and utilize when entering the field.
The highlight of our 2021 year was our GiSTEM Week 2021! GiSTEM Week is our week-long program that focuses on one STEM subject per day. Each subject-focused day has professionals from the field discussing their STEM career journey - including their roles at their respective companies, any challenges and advice to help the participants in their own journey. The girls are exposed to hands-on activities and real-world problems to teach foundational STEM skills. There is so much to be said about this event. From the speakers to the amazing girls that completed the STEM intensive virtual program, it was truly the reason that we created the nonprofit. Our girls were in different parts of Virginia such as Richmond, Fort Lee, Fairfax, and Portsmouth. When we asked about the program, Sumaya responded, “I thought this program was amazing! I learned a lot!”
During each day, the girls were introduced to new concepts such as the Scientific Method, Technological Design Process, Engineering Design Process and Data Analysis. In the beginning of the week, the girls were introduced to their capstone project, separated into groups, and selected a job role. Over four days, there were a total of thirteen (13) powerful women STEM professionals that presented. While sharing their STEM journey, they intertwined the concepts for that day and drove home how they utilize STEM concepts in their everyday role. On the last day, the program participants presented their capstone project poster to their family, GiSTEM Week sponsors, the Board Members, and a panel of judges. The judges consisted of a Research Scientist at NASA, Scientist/Human Systems Integration Lead at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division and a GiSTEM Week sponsor. Each group was scored based on the content and delivery of the group presentation. The judges gave feedback of the presentations, “Excellent Job. The problem and methodology were stated well, and most of the important challenges were considered. Supporting Human exploration of Mars is a difficult task! Great job!” As we prepare for GiSTEM Week 2022, all interested rising 7th - 12th grade girls are encouraged to apply for the program.
Through our GiSTEMpact program, we had the opportunity to partner with Team Ujima for the Covid-19 Clinic and provide backpacks to girls in the south Richmond community. Additionally, GiSTEM was able to participate in the Churchill Holiday Market to share about the work that we do in the community. We also had a couple of media features in 2021. Our president was featured in the FUJIFILM Women4Women magazine to highlight women in Science for International Women and Girls Day in Science. Additionally, our Vice President joined our President with a feature in the Inspiring the next generation of Women in STEM blog by Labster. We also had the privilege to highlight several women in STEM on our blogs. If you haven’t already, be sure to check them out!
Looking back on this past year, we have accomplished many of our 2021 goals, but we are excited to see what we will accomplish in 2022. We have many events, partnerships and interactive fundraising events planned for 2022. Don’t forget to subscribe for our website communications to stay informed. We cannot wait to share our 2022 success with you on our next birthday post in 2023. Stay tuned!
Do you have a rising 7th - 12th grader with a strong interest in STEM? Apply for our Virtual STEM Summer Program - GiSTEM Week 2022. We are accepting sixteen (16) girls for our 2022 program. Deadline to apply is April 2022. Apply now!
Interested in volunteering at GiSTEM? Sign up here.