Jennifer Heldmann (Code SST) recently participated in NASA G.I.R.L.S. (Giving Initiative and Relevance to Learning Science), a virtual mentoring program to help girls get excited about careers in science and technology. This program was part of Women@NASA, a joint effort by NASA and the White House Council on Women and Girls to relate STEM fields to young females.
NASA GIRLS is the first program to pair up girls with NASA female mentors from the Women@NASA program using online video programs such as Skype and Google Chat. Participants were selected from more than
1,600 applications. “NASA GIRLS allows young students to work directly with women who successfully have established STEM careers,” said NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. “The program uses technology familiar to the young generation and allows NASA to share its mission in regions where there may not be a NASA center.”
The mentoring sessions consisted of lessons in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The last session focused on applying one of the STEM subjects to two real-world events. The girls mathematically calculated the shift of Earth’s tilt caused by the 2011 Japan earthquake. They also computed the volume of SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which in May became the first commercial spacecraft to deliver supplies to the International Space Station. The program also included hands-on learning. During an engineering lesson, the girls and their mentors were challenged to build a robot hand or a Wright Brothers’ model airplane while virtually connected.
Women@NASA is a continuing, joint effort by NASA and the White House Council on Women and Girls to relate STEM fields to young females.