County GEMS Clubs To Attend White House Event

Fairfax County Public Schools GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) Clubs will participate in a White House event on Girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) today (Tuesday, April 24).

Seven girls and adult sponsors from Dogwood and McNair Elementary Schools, Hughes Middle School and South Lakes High School will be representing the Cluster VIII GEMS Clubs at the White House Girls in STEM live Webcast, thanks to the support of the Mid-Atlantic Girls Collaborative and the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

“Girls are an integral part of our future in STEM,” said McNair Elementary School Technology Specialist Laura Reasoner Jones, founder of more than 25 GEMS clubs in Fairfax County and across the country.  “Encouraging girls to see themselves in these fields of study and careers is paramount to developing an effective and productive workforce.”

Filling a need

GEMS clubs have been in existence since 1994, when Jones, a preschool teacher at the time, was concerned about her fourth-grade daughter’s waning interest in math. She started the first GEMS club with support from the Reston-Herndon branch of AAUW at her daughter’s school. The clubs have grown to serve girls all over the country through her research, outreach, and presentations at national conferences.

“As the mother of a female engineer, I support and endorse the efforts of the GEMS clubs to invite girls into the STEM fields, and to develop their learning and exploration,” said Maria Eck, principal at McNair Elementary School  where two GEMS clubs have been active since 2006.

The program

The White House Council on Women and Girls is hosting the event that features a panel of trailblazing women in STEM fields who will share their experiences and encourage girls to follow in their footsteps — or blaze a trail of their own.  This event will also include the very first public screening of the video “Girls in STEM,” featuring footage from girls who participated in the 2012 White House Science Fair.

Students, parents, and teachers are invited to watch the Girls in STEM event live from the White House site beginning at 10:30 a.m.