Briana Rodriguez

Girls Inc. member Briana Rodriguez plans to become a successful biomedical engineer.

Girls Inc. of Carpinteria has announced plans to create a dedicated STEM lab on its Foothill Road campus to further enable hands-on learning for girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The creation of the Avantor STEM Lab is funded by a $75,000 grant from the Avantor Foundation, which will also include the funding of a new, fulltime STEM facilitator.

In addition to the grant, Avantor, Inc. donated KN95 masks for Girls Inc. staff, members and their families. 

“Education for girls in science, technology, engineering and math is paramount at an early age,” said Jamie Collins, executive director of Girls Inc. Carpinteria. “The generous donation from the Avantor Foundation will enable life-changing programs and experiences that have the potential to shape the future of so many young minds. The addition of an onsite stem lab will also enable the Eureka! program to engage teens year-round in STEM, a core component of the program.”

In addition to Avantor’s support, the Aldrin Family Foundation provided an in-kind donation of materials that will be utilized in the new STEM lab, including its “Giant Moon Map,” a 3D lunar model and curriculum to introduce and energize girls about outer space. 

Girls Inc.’s approach to STEM enrichment inspires girls through hands-on, interactive workshops and exposes them to leaders in fields of study in which women, particularly women of color, are underrepresented.

“Our Avantor STEM Lab will serve as a safe space for girls to dismantle machines, observe plants and animals, and build robots through female-led, open-ended activities designed to ignite girls’ passions in these fields,” added Collins. 

STEM programming will take place daily across all age groups, with a focus on middle and high school students. Participants in both the daily Teen Center and STEM-based college bound program, Eureka!, will benefit from the space weekly, working with the organization’s partners at local colleges and businesses to engage guests that connect STEM activities to college majors and career opportunities. The lab will be accessible to the organization’s elementary aged girls during the after-school hours for both open ended, independent STEM exploration and research-based curricula.

“Before entering Girls Inc., I never imagined I would be interested in a STEM-field career,” said Girls Inc. member Briana Rodriguez. “Girls Inc. has shown me that women can be equally as successful as men in any science field, and they have always addressed the need for more women to be involved in STEM. Girls Inc. explores and introduces us to new STEM activities every day, and it has encouraged and inspired me to become a successful biomedical engineer.” 

The lab is slated to open in March.

For more information, call (805) 684-6364 or visit girlsinc-carp.org. 

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