Every year, ArmadilloCon supports a local charity we feel meets our mission statement. The charity for ArmadilloCon 36 is GirlStart, a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for K-12 girls. GirlStart’s core programs foster STEM skills development, an understanding of the importance of STEM as a way to solve the world’s major problems, as well as an interest in STEM electives, majors, and careers.
GirlStart’s programs were highlighted extensively in a recent Booz Allen Hamilton study, conducted on behalf of NASA’s Summer of Innovation project. The study (download here) identified 50 best practices in providing out-of-school time STEM programming to at-risk 4th-9th grade students. GirlStart was one of 13 organizations in the U.S. highlighted in the report and many of the best practices were informed by information shared by GirlStart
WHY THIS MATTERS
Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was 3x as fast as growth in non- STEM jobs. STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% through 2018, compared to 9.8% growth for non-STEM occupations. STEM workers also command higher wages, earning 26% more than their non-STEM counterparts. In addition, STEM workers are also less likely to experience joblessness than their non-STEM counterparts, and if they do experience joblessness, they are quicker to find a new job than a non-STEM professional.
Along with Guest of Honor Sigrid Close, who is a strong supporter of encouraging girls to study math and science, we hope to encourage girls around the Austin-area to come to ArmadilloCon and learn more about science fiction, fantasy and other wonderfully nerdy science topics to support their need for stimulating conversation as well as exposure to other wonderful scientists.