A big thank you to everyone who made this event possible - especially Rev1 Ventures and the Columbus Homeless Family Foundation!
There is a lot to be excited about here at Blossom as we ring in the New Year! I am excited to announce that the Columbus Foundation has awarded us a $42,000 grant! This is huge for Blossom and we cannot thank the Columbus Foundation enough for their consideration of our proposal for this grant.
With the help of the Columbus Foundation we will be bringing our camps to Columbus this summer! This grant will provide us with the funds to secure space, develop our curriculum, help others join our mission, and of course empower many more young girls to explore STEM. Bringing Blossom to Columbus marks the expansion of our summer camps in 3 cities. Now the young girls of Columbus will be able to take part in our program designed specifically for them.
With expansion comes opportunity and to those in the Cincinnati, Buffalo, and Columbus areas, we will be looking for interns, volunteers, and other support. If you or anyone you know would be interested in an opportunity with Blossom reach out to us and we will be happy to match up available opportunities!
As we bring in the New Year with all of the excitement of expansion, I want to thank you all for your support. Impact and change does not happen overnight and it requires the use of all skills and backgrounds. Spreading the word of our mission is critical as well as volunteering and donations. Here at Blossom we appreciate all that you do and hope that your New Year will be the best yet.
We want to thank everyone who has donated to Blossom and contributed to our cause. Our all stars this month were Infotech WNY and Benjamin and Patrica Randle who gave scholarships to two girls in Buffalo! All of our donors and volunteers make a huge difference in our cause to reach out to young girls about the STEM fields. With your continued support Blossom will continue to grow and become an even greater force in the movement to bring girls into STEM.
As we move into April we’ve been making great strides in getting young girls in Cincinnati and Buffalo to sign up to attend our camp! We still have a long way to go and lot more progress to make before we start our second summer of camps. It’s up to all of us to continue to make an effort to spread the word about Blossom and the opportunities we offer to learn at our camp.
Coming up this month is our second Hackathon ever that will be located in Buffalo. We’re looking forward to another successful event for girls to explore all that STEM has to offer!
We’ve had an amazing start to 2017 here at Blossom! We have many people to thank for our growing and continuing success. First, I’d like to start by thanking SparkFun Electronics, Inc. for including Blossom in their community partners! Another shout out to Rev1 Ventures for hosting our amazing first ever Columbus Hackathon!
February 4th was our first ever Hackathon specifically designed for young girls. We held the day-long event at Rev1 thanks to their generosity. We had a huge turn-out of 45 girls all eager to learn about the amazing world of STEM! The girls got to participate in soldering, programming robots, coding, and more. The success of this event was due to all the help we received from our volunteers and the young girls all eager to learn! Our next Hackathon will be in Buffalo, New York so keep a look out for updates!
Hardly two months into 2017 and we’ve already made sales for seats at our summer camps! We’re only just getting started and I can tell that we’re in for another successful summer of fun STEM learning! Let’s keep up this momentum as we near the summer!
Thank you all for your continued support. We’ve reached a new level in our development as an organization. We have a face in the public and will continue to spread our message to inspire young girls to learn and achieve through the world of STEM.
Before working in IT, I served briefly as an elementary school teacher. I was also a substitute teacher from Pre-K all the way up to 12th grade, in addition to coaching middle school girls and high school girls field hockey. All of these various experiences gave me windows into the work of education and mentorship at numerous points through young people’s lives. Complementing this with my own experience as an Asian American woman in the tech industry, I’ve come to realize how critical it is for educators, parents, and really any adult who ever interacts with a child to think about what we do, what we say, what we convey about value.
Even now, when I think “boy”, I think “strong”, and when I think “girl”, I think “pretty”. The only way to counter our own biases and work towards mitigating bias in our communications is to be more self-aware. A boy might hear “Great job spelling all of the words correctly”, while a girl might here “Your handwriting is so neat.” We need to remind ourselves what we want our girls to really think about themselves – how they define self-worth and what those values should be to promote a healthier career & life.
I am the only female on my team, but my gender and/or my physical appearance in no way affect the quality of my work. My gender is important, but it is not at all a defining factor when it comes to what people can do – what we can learn, what skills we can develop, and how we can excel in school. I want to be valued for my skills, my knowledge, my capacity to persevere and to solve problems, my ability to help my clients achieve their goals. I want young people to demand to be valued for their minds, not their bodies.
Towards the end of elementary school, children are starting to thinking about what makes a boy a boy and what makes a girl a girl. The physiological differences aren’t as important here as the behavioral components – who to sit with at lunch, who to play with on the playground, who to talk to because they’re One Of My Kind as opposed to the Other. We need to create environments where boys and girls are equally welcomed as opposed to separated out by gender lines. We need boys and girls to see one another as One of My Kind – not because of shared hobbies or similar appearance, but out of recognition that “you can do this too”.
While it can help, boys and girls don’t need to share hobbies to get along. Instead, we can value all people across genders for the pursuit of knowledge, the pursuit of excellence. We can ask questions about the world around us and be curious together. We can design things, build things, consider problems, and device solutions. The world needs more critical thinkers, persevering researchers, and problem-solvers. We can think about bringing more girls into STEM because we need more minds in STEM.
Gulnaar K. is a prior elementary-level educator who now works in technology.