Rosie Riveters: Empowering Girls to be Confident and Competent in the Field of STEM
Keeping children entertained and interested in school in today’s society is difficult enough. I mean – really, consider it, COVID classes, webinars, having to play both parent and teacher at times and managing the balances – it’s rough, or at least it can be. Here’s the good news: Rosie Riveters has figured out a way to keep your preschool through middle school-aged girls educated and their skills sharp. “Strong, Confident and Competent.” urges Executive Director and Founder Brittany Greer when describing the program’s purpose. “We want our girls to solve real world problems creatively. Your uniqueness in your process is ultimately why we want you in a STEM career.” Rosie’s science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational programs help girls understand that diversity, confidence, intelligence and empowerment are all powerful tools in a number of different fields, and they help these girls build on that.
Rosie Riveters is making huge strides locally.
To date they partner with two public school districts (Arlington County and Fairfax County) and two affordable housing organizations (Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing and Arlington Housing Corporation). They’re even connected to a few different community centers: Fairfax County Community Centers, Arlington County Public Libraries and Blue Star Families. Lately Rosie Riveters has supplemented distance and web learning by power of kit. These kits have cheered the in-person learning experience and have been introduced free to about 4,000 homes.
Rosie Riveters has been featured on Good Morning America, CBS and NBC. The program notes that, “This structure is designed to get young women excited about and interested in STEM well before they encounter barriers discouraging their participation.” In the world of engineers, women only take up 14% of that space. While those numbers are on the rise from the late 1980s, that percentage is still dramatically low. Rosie Riveters is changing the way girls identify their blueprint in the world.
As for what Rosie Riveters is working on now, says Greer, it’s “developing out our high school programming. When we started this program, it was focused on girls between the ages of 4 [and] 14 and subsets of that. Now that we’ve been operating since 2016, our alumni are like, I’m still a Rosie Girl! So, we’re creating additional ways to reinforce our core values with young women who have an identity with us; it’s called Rosie Innovators! We’re making plans for our girls.”
In addition to that, Rosie Riveters wants to create a four-year high school plan that fosters community and leadership and aids in internship placement, work placement and potential college placement. “Accessibility is a big component of ours,” says Greer, adding that the organization wants to train students in their senior year to become Rosie instructors.
What’s next for Rosie?
“Expansion!,” Greer explains, in two parts. “The first one is kind of related to Rosie Innovators, the program designed to train high school students in new communities. We’re partnering with one of our biggest affiliates to train their spouses to become Rosie Riveters instructors and we’ll be delivering programs to their homes … In this rollout, we can keep our core value of community enrichment and also train remotely and with 360 cameras. This will bring them into an in-person program, virtually. From that they will learn how to teach an in-person program. Secondly, we are potentially on track to be in two states by the middle of next year.”
So how can you help? In addition to donations, Rosie Riveters is always looking for gifted women to share their thoughts, skills and a helpful hand, and also has summer internship opportunities available for high school girls wanting to earn extra credit. rosieriveters.com