Girls in Science Initiative

SCI's Girls in Science Initiative aims to empower and equip girls in science, technology, engineering and math.

Research shows that while women are attending and completing college at higher rates than ever before, they represent only 26% of the college-educated workforce in science and engineering occupations, according to the National Science Board. The Science Center of Iowa wants to help change that. SCI’s Girls in Science Initiative was created in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of female STEM professionals.

Rarely are students taught about the accomplishments of female scientists, nor do they see their portraits hung on the walls of classrooms. The Girls in Science Initiative seeks to introduce girls to female STEM professionals that are in the workforce right now. These successful women, representatives of an ever growing minority in STEM, are available to lend advice to the participants.

SCI’s Girls in Science Initiative provides a rare opportunity for girls to meet and connect with female mentors and role models in an array of disciplines. SCI is on a mission to develop a diverse 21st century workforce, and that starts with empowering and equipping girls in science, technology, engineering and math today.

Girls in Science Events

Girls in Science Festival (All Ages)

February 18, 2023

Interested in learning more about science, technology, engineering and math? Girls and families of all ages are invited to SCI's Girls in Science Festival, presented by Corteva, to explore a variety of STEM careers and connect with female role models. Community partners such as the LEGO User Group and NASA solar system ambassadors will be providing hands-on learning experiences. There will also be workshops available for more in-depth experiences.

Festival activities are included with SCI general admission.

Innovation Lab Workshops - The following workshops are included with your general admission ticket. Registration for these workshops will be available onsite Saturday, February 18. Space is limited in each workshop.

  • Rocks of Iowa: Iowa is home to sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. It’s important to know what rocks are in an area for more than geological study but also in architecture and engineering. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to work with and test different rocks of Iowa and see what makes up our state.
    This workship begins at 10:00 am and is appropriate for ages 7 and up.
  • Insulator Innovator: Become a materials engineer! Materials engineers create and test different materials for projects such as astronaut suits! This workshop will test different materials to make improvements to reusable water bottles. Reusable water bottles are great for our environment but something they leak or break.
    This workshop begins at 11:00 am and is appropriate for ages 7 and up.
  • Circuit Lights: Learn to light up a bulb using basic circuits. Circuits are all around us including complex computers to a basic light. This workshop focuses on complexities of circuits to build a flashing light and offers tools to further work with circuits to transform the flashing light into a traffic light.  
    This workshop begins at 1:30 pm and is appropriate for ages 12 and up.

Advanced Innovation Lab Workshops - The advanced workshops charge an additional fee of $5 per person. Registration for these two times will be available onsite Saturday, February 18. Space is limited in each workshop.

  • Innovation in Illumination: Learn to design and create things with various maker tools. Participants will use software to design a luminary that can be cut out using a laser cutter. They will then build the light base by soldering lights to a battery pack.
    This workshop will be held at 12:30 pm AND 2:30 pm and is appropriate for ages 10 and up.

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SciGirls® Summer Camps (Grades 3–8)

Check back soon for dates for SciGirls Summer Camps.

If you like science and creating, this is the camp for you! We will explore different ways to create, combining conventional crafting with science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

Meals with Mentors (Grades 7–12)

2023 Date TBD (6:00 – 8:30 pm)

Girls in grades 7 through 12 can register online for this unique event where they will meet female undergraduates studying for a degree in a STEM field as well as working female scientists. The dinner will feature a keynote speaker as well as group challenges that give girls the opportunity to interact with as many of the attending female STEM professionals as possible.

This event is free for girls to attend

Technovision Moonshot

(Date TBD)

SCI is partnering with Children and Families Urban Movement (CFUM) in Des Moines to support teams of 4th and 5th grade girls to participate in the Technovation Challenge. Through the program, girls will learn how to code a mobile app or build an AI project to solve a problem that they care about.

The Science Center of Iowa is an official SciGirls® museum. Based on the best practices in STEM education for girls, SciGirls’ videos, online resources, hands-on activities and professional development work together to address a singular but powerful goal: to inspire, enable and maximize STEM learning and participation for all girls, encouraging greater interest in these careers.