Celebrating International Women and Girls in Science Day
Today, as we celebrate International Women and Girls in Science Day, an observance adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to promote the participation and representation of women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), we reflect on our role in cultivating diversity within the scientific community. At Moderna, we believe that diverse perspectives are crucial to fostering innovation and driving the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow.
One way we encourage women and girls to participate in STEM fields is through the Moderna Charitable Foundation. Launched in 2022, the Moderna Foundation supports organizations that promote public health and access to quality healthcare, advancing scientific education and innovation, and advocating for diversity and inclusion, particularly in underserved populations. The Foundation seeks to be a full partner in the pursuit of health and education equity.
Today, as we recognize women and girls’ inclusion in STEM, join us as we highlight two Moderna Foundation partners making a difference in working to address inequalities in STEM around gender, race and socioeconomics.
Science Club for Girls: Transforming the Face of STEM
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the mission of Science Club for Girls is to foster excitement, confidence, and literacy in STEM for girls and gender-expansive youth from underrepresented communities by providing free, experiential programs and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women-in-STEM mentors. Its goals are to reduce barriers to access, improve girls’ attitudes toward STEM, increase academic confidence, and bolster resilience through programs that support girls’ social and emotional development and strengthen their network of caring adults.
In pursuit of their mission, Science Club for Girls offers a continuum of engaging, hands-on STEM education and mentorship programs for girls and gender-expansive youth in grades K-12. Mentorship by women studying and working in STEM is a cornerstone of their model, with 190 volunteer mentors engaged this semester alone to provide critical role modeling for participants. Designed as clubs and offered in both in-person and virtual formats to increase accessibility, Science Club for Girls' programs reinforce teamwork and collaboration and instill confidence in girls’ ability to make an impact on the world through careers in STEM.
With the Moderna Foundation’s grant, Science Club for Girls continues its upward growth trajectory having increased its enrollment by 350% since 2018 to now serve over 675 girls and gender-expansive youth from underrepresented communities in the Greater Boston area and surrounding communities.
"As a global community, we are at a severe disadvantage because so many brilliant and innovative minds are missing from the proverbial STEM table. Women currently represent only 29% of the STEM workforce in the United States and Black and Latina women comprise only 4% of working scientists and engineers. What these vast inequities mean is that there is incredible, unrealized potential out there to solve the most pressing issues of our time, from climate change to cybersecurity to global pandemics. The current lack of diversity in STEM also means that entire communities are left out of the profound economic benefits of careers in STEM. At Science Club for Girls, we are proud of our 30-year history of tackling these issues and inspiring girls and gender-expansive youth from underrepresented communities to fall in love with STEM."
-Dr. Bonnie Bertolaet, Executive Director, Science Club for Girls
Science Journal for Kids: Reaching Underserved Students with STEM Education Resources
Science Journal for Kids is an online scientific journal that makes academic research papers published in high-impact journals available and accessible to children and teens. Working closely with the original researchers, the Journal rewrites published scientific papers for students' grade levels, translating these manuscripts into age-appropriate language to make complex scientific concepts meaningful and interesting. The Journal also creates science teaching resources including videos and text-to-speech adaptations for teachers and parents to equip them with materials to educate the next generation of STEM enthusiasts.
All digital resources are provided free of charge to ensure accessibility. Since its founding, Science Journal for Kids has published over 240 adaptations in 16 languages with a total reach that extends to millions of elementary to high school students through shared use of its resources in classrooms. Nearly 60% of the Journal’s readers come from economically disadvantaged areas: schools with Title 1 or Free and Reduced Meals Program.
With support from the Moderna Foundation, Science Journal for Kids increased their capacity to adapt scientific manuscripts into kid-friendly digital articles published in a peer-reviewed, open-access science journal and translated into multiple reading level versions and translations. It has also enabled the organization to build awareness of these offerings to teachers and provide with training.
"Here at Science Journal for Kids, we strategically seek out women and BIPOC researchers to adapt their research so that underrepresented students can connect with the researcher and envision a future in STEM. Our Ask-A-Scientist interviews allow students to learn about science career pathways and meet role models from similar backgrounds to which they can aspire to."
-Tanya Dimitrova, Founder and Managing Editor of Science Journal for Kids
We are proud to support these and other organizations that address inequalities made even clearer by the pandemic while contributing to the communities where we live and work. As we work to maximize our positive impact on human health, we will continue to advocate for diversity of thought, champion the role of women in science, and empower the next generation of women STEM leaders, recognizing that their contributions are fundamental to the advancement of science and technology.