AED Chosen by NSF to Encourage Girls' Interest In Science

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CONTACT: Michelle Galley
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AED Chosen by National Science Foundation to Develop Great Science for Girls Program to Encourage Girls’ Interest in Science

Washington, D.C., Nov. 18, 2006—The Academy for Educational Development has received a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to develop ”Great Science for Girls,” a national initiative to build the capacity of after-school educators to deliver programming that will broaden and sustain girls’ interest and persistence in science.
Great Science for Girls, which is being developed by the Educational Equity Center at AED, will stress the use of inquiry-based and informal science activities, and aims to provide after-school programs with evidence-based science curricula that are hands-on and fun!

“Great Science for Girls is an exciting opportunity to offer science programming in the cooperative learning style that is so appealing to girls,” said Barbara Sprung, Co-Director of the Educational Equity Center at AED.

Great Science for Girls will build a national community of practitioners through a model similar to the one set by the agricultural extension services sponsored by the USDA. Professional development institutes, on-site consulting, a handbook of best practices, and a virtual support system of assistance, training, resources and research will be the nuts and bolts of the extension services.

Two other AED Centers that have worked extensively in the field of after-school education —the AED Center for Youth Development and Policy Research and the AED National Training Institute for Community Youth Work—are partnering in this effort.

In addition, the Educational Equity Center at AED is collaborating with 16 regional intermediary organizations to deliver Great Science for Girls services. Over the course of the five-year project, these intermediaries have the potential to reach hundreds of programs, thousands of youth workers, and hundreds of thousands of girls.

Great Science for Girls is targeting after-school programs in particular because research shows that large numbers of underserved youth attend these programs. As a result, many of the girls who will benefit will be from a population that has traditionally been excluded from the science and math pipeline.

“Girls love science and are good at it—they just need more opportunities and encouragement, said Merle Froschl, Co-Director, EEC. Great Science for Girls provides this opportunity to girls from underserved groups across the country.

Founded in 1961, the Academy for Educational Development (www.aed.org) is a nonprofit organization committed to building the capacity of individuals, communities, and institutions to become more self-sufficient. AED works in all the major areas of human development, with a focus on improving education, health, and economic opportunities for the least advantaged in the United States and developing countries throughout the world.