The STEM Next Opportunity Fund on Wednesday announced a multiyear grant to the Oklahoma Partnership for Expanded Learning (OPEL) as part of the Million Girls Moonshot.
The Intel Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation have joined STEM Next Opportunity Fund and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to launch the Million Girls Moonshot, which is designed to engage 1 million school-age girls in the United States in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning opportunities over the next five years. The organizations will provide grant funding and in-kind resources to Mott-funded, after-school networks in all 50 states to increase access to hands-on, immersive STEM learning experiences.
The first-year Oklahoma grant is for $5,000.
The OPEL plans to use the funds to help after-school programs in the state provide STEM education. It will help improve access among after-school providers to high-quality STEM resources and tools, convene a STEM after-school taskforce to help align statewide STEM initiatives and increase access among after-school professionals to STEM-focused professional development.
“The Million Girls Moonshot provides an extraordinary opportunity for after-school programs in Oklahoma to make an enormous impact on the lives of all our youth, and particularly our girls,” Brent Bushey, an OPEL leadership team member said. “The future economy of our state and our nation will rely heavily on the STEM fields, and after-school programs are uniquely situated to help prepare our youth for those career opportunities.”
As the original moonshots of the 1960s and ‘70s united the nation behind a common goal and dramatically advanced scientific achievement, the Million Girls Moonshot aims to create a national movement to change the trajectory of women and girls in STEM. Led by STEM Next Opportunity Fund, the Million Girls Moonshot will tap a range of funding and programmatic partners, including NASA, Qualcomm, Technovation, STEMconnector, National Girls Collaborative Project, Jobs For The Future (JFF), Techbridge Girls and Lyda Hill Philanthropies.
Women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, but are vastly underrepresented in STEM fields, comprising just 16% of engineers, for example. Black and Latina women have even less representation, at about 2% each.
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