LAGUNA BEACH, CA — Project Scientist, a national non-profit that turns girls onto science, technology, engineering, and math, will receive a grant of $1 million from Trane Technologies, payable over three years. The grant includes funding for Project Scientist to add a new mentoring program and expand internationally into Mexico.
Project Scientist offers a virtual after-school STEM Club and virtual summer STEM camps for girls ages 4-12 in three time zones. STEM Club this spring will explore machine learning, climate change in national parks, and the chemistry of medicine and pharmacology. Eighty-five percent of Project Scientist girls come from under-resourced communities and receive financial aid from Project Scientist to attend.
Trane Technologies' collaboration with Project Scientist will support nearly 800 girls between the ages of 4-12 each year of the three-year commitment. Trane Technologies employees will mentor girls and give them a behind-the-scenes look at STEM careers and workplaces. Overall, Trane Technologies has pledged $100 million and 500,000 volunteer hours to build sustainable futures for underrepresented populations.
U.S. and International Expansion
Funding from Trane Technologies will help Project Scientist expand in the U.S. through a new virtual STEM leadership development program to empower girls ages 13-15 who want to pursue a STEM-focused education and career. Each girl experiences one-on-one mentoring with an accomplished STEM professional. Mentors help develop and guide girls via virtual conversations, resources, and college-preparedness projects.
Project Scientist will also launch its first international initiative, a virtual pilot program for girls ages 4-12 in Mexico, slated for Fall 2022. It will be held in Spanish to inspire girls to develop their STEM talents and help increase the pipeline of qualified, diverse people in STEM fields in Mexico. This will be Project Scientist's first program outside the United States. The programming will also be available to dual-language schools in the U.S.
These advancements are made possible by Trane Technologies, a long-time supporter of Project Scientist. "It's our honor to help expand Project Scientist's impact," said Steve Hagood, senior vice president and chief information officer for Trane Technologies.
"Children exposed to STEM education are not just learning new skills in problem-solving, computational thinking, and collaboration — they are absorbing the signals they see," added Hagood, who serves as Project Scientist's board chair. "That's why just a glimpse of people, especially women, in STEM careers can unlock new dreams for what they can be."
A STEM Career for Every Girl Who Wants One
In both the after-school and summer program, Project Scientist-certified teachers lead girls divided by age in STEM learning and hands-on science. Each girl receives a STEM kit in the mail with all the supplies to conduct experiments at home. Girls also hear from STEM Superstars about their careers. Meeting these female role models allows girls to visualize themselves pursuing STEM degrees and becoming the next generation of STEM innovators.
A study on Project Scientist's first virtual summer program last year found that 87% of participants felt they could be themselves in the program, 88% felt it's okay to make mistakes, and 93% met someone in a career they admire at Project Scientist.
"Project Scientist is designed to show girls that a STEM career is attainable for any girl who wants one," says Founder and CEO Sandy Marshall. "We're incredibly grateful to Trane Technologies for making this program accessible for girls who couldn't join us without scholarship funding."
Project Scientist's programming is especially important now, as the organization works to help close the learning gap caused by COVID-19.