2014 Community Counts

Millibeth Currie

Women In Charge: Engineering Women's Lives (at Moultrie Middle School)
2014 Winner for Community Counts Award
About Community Counts Award

Engages the whole community, including students, parents and local stakeholders, to make learning relevant.

Provide an overview of the project, practice or product that your video represents, and how your work encompasses the principles and ideals of the award that you're applying for.

I created Women in Charge: Engineering Women’s Lives twelve years ago to enable female students to engineer the life they dream by uncovering their future in science, technology, engineering, and math! Women in Charge engages the whole community, including students, parents and our local stakeholders. Women in Charge implements a unique program through connections to STEM research and working with community professionals. They see how STEM fits into the real world to solve real-world problems. Women in Charge provides access to the world by linking them with leading professionals through a series of investigations.

Imagine studying pulley systems by climbing a 40 foot tower, learning computer programming from Google programmers, being invited to study area technology companies’ business plans, working alongside researchers saving our endangered Spartina grass, hearing from a parent about her engineering in aviation, scrubbing in with female surgeons, watching surgery, even working with a university DNA Learning Center! WIC makes learning relevant! As I enter my thirteenth year directing Women in Charge, I am especially proud of the many ways I have connected my students with our community.

Explain the long-lasting impact of what you've presented in this video, and provide any qualitative or quantitative data that supports this impact.

After reviewing the video I am amazed with the volume of community involvement supporting our students. That support has had long lasting affects. When I work with college students who are entering the field of education they ask for advise. My advice: ask for help from your community and watch the magic happen. Our leaders are eager to fill the pipeline with well-prepared citizens for the technology-based workplace. They welcome our members and are thirsty to show them their potential.

Many of our members entered the pathway to become scientists. One such student’s comment was in the video describing how she didn’t know what engineering was until Women in Charge led her to understand she wanted to become an engineer. I have concluded students’ aspirations toward careers in STEM are likely to influence both their course selection. Many girls unknowingly let math and science knowledge slip away from them, thereby eliminating many future opportunities for personal and professional growth. Women in Charge aims to counteract the possibility of achievement gaps opening up and limiting the students’ future.

The lasting effect of Women in Charge can be tracked through comments made by members: “Women in Charge and you have inspired me to pursue my goals, and much more!” , “Before, I absolutely hated science. You made science so interesting with interactive learning all year!”, “Being in Women in Charge has made me more confident and reassuring that I can do anything. “, “I will never forget the spectacular memories I have accumulated for the past two years.”, “I loved being in WIC and it has definitely made an impact on my life.”, “I used to think I couldn’t understand math, now I know I can!”, “ Thank you so much for the great introduction to the start of my engineering career!”