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A Peek into Our Programming: Fall Planning, Q&A with Rana el Kaliouby, and Summer Rocketry Program

Updated: May 27, 2021

With Fall 2021 planning underway, our Curriculum Committee is ready and excited to incorporate elements of social-emotional learning into fun, educational, and exploratory lesson plans. During the committee meeting this month, Junior Mentors, Mentors, and staff began updating “The Human Body” curriculum. Working in small groups, the meeting attendees focused on different organ systems and discussed possible activities that would engage young scientists of all ages. Now, the committee is preparing final drafts of the curriculum including activity instructions, informational videos, and materials needed each week. Additionally, with our new, dual-format planning, the committee is working to ensure clubs are accessible no matter if a student is in-person, or Zooming in from their kitchen table! Stay tuned for more information regarding final logistics and registration for the fall semester.


Last month, we wrapped up our Career Empowerment Series with guest Rana el Kaliouby, Co-founder and CEO of Affectiva, author of Girl Decoded, and a 2021 Virtual Catalyst Awardee. Rana spoke about her journey growing up in Egypt where there are few female leaders in the tech industry. Inspired by her teachers and her mother, one of the first women computer programmers in the Middle East, Rana broke gender and cultural barriers while creating the newest tech concept: Emotional Artificial Intelligence. At the event, Rana detailed her successes, failures, and lessons learned while developing Affectiva, sharing important advice to the Junior Mentors and Mentors who are also passionate about revolutionizing STEM. She also gave advice on speaking up and making your voice heard in a space where you are otherwise underestimated, noting the importance of “being able to communicate strongly with [their] team, speaking up when [they] are unsure of something, and speaking up when [they] have accomplished something and showing that pride.” To learn more about Rana el Kaliouby’s fearless journey, be sure to read her book Girl Decoded: A Scientist's Quest to Reclaim Our Humanity by Bringing Emotional Intelligence to Technology!


After a successful inaugural launch last year, our Virtual Summer Rocketry Program is back! This is a free, 2-week program for rising 6 - 8th grade girls and those who identify with girlhood. Participants will build, design, and launch their own rockets—during in-person, socially-distant field trips—gain leadership skills, and build confidence in STEM in preparation for our Junior Mentor Program. In addition to building their own rockets, young scientists will participate in astronaut physical training, design moon-based facilities, and meet real-life aerospace scientists during an inspiring career panel! Last year, our young scientists enjoyed every aspect of the Rocketry Program, one participant expressing, “I liked meeting people with similar interests as me”. We hope to continue fostering this supportive environment as we engage our girls in rocket science and the array of education and career opportunities that await them. Check out our Virtual Summer Rocketry Program page for more information. A huge thank you to Estes Rockets for sponsoring this program.

For more news, check out our May Newsletter!

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