History of Women Empowerment
Since opening in 1983, Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) has elevated women empowerment. From the beginning, LMC’s pioneer, Eleanor Fletcher, illustrated the power of having women in STEM fields as she educated children about endangered sea turtles and the need for marine conservation. However, gender misrepresentation still remains an issue in STEM careers, but LMC is working to advance female involvement with the support of organizations such as the Association of Science and Technology (ASTC).
To shift the situation, the Education Department at Loggerhead Marine Center is one of the proud recipients of the ASTC IF/THEN Gender Equity Grant. The initiative falls within Lyda Hill Philanthropies, which awards more than $200,000 to 26 ASTC-member science centers and museums in the United States to increase the representation of women and gender minorities in STEM.
What will the grant provide?
Round one recipients, such as LMC, will use the grant funds to support a myriad of projects, including revising exhibits and signage, developing STEM learning camps for girls, holding virtual events and resources, engaging the public through virtual chats with women scientists, and creating collectible trading cards that feature women in STEM careers.
Funds at LMC will specifically support our Virtual Coastal Classroom (VCC) and will provide ongoing lesson plans, educational materials, online tests, and at-home activities to the general public. During these sessions, viewers can ask questions in real-time about sea turtle patient progress, sea turtle research, invasive species, and topics surrounding ocean conservation. Aspiring women scientists also conduct at-home STEM activities using household items and engage in our virtual at-home challenges to exercise their imagination.
The temporary campus closure during COVID-19 is what sparked the ingenuity to create our VCC. Since March, LMC educators have engaged women online with VCC’s internationally and of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Women who might not otherwise have access to material on marine life and our interconnected ecosystems tuned-in to online sessions from various countries, including Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, United States (e.g., California, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York, etc.), United Kingdom, Spain and more! Many questions came in from female viewers seeking the advice from LMC’s team of women educators, and how they could pursue a career in marine biology and STEM education and what the steps are to get there.
We may serve as a strong template for leading women in STEM, but concerted efforts are what drives our mission home. Our team at LMC has the utmost gratitude for our synergistic partners like ASTC.