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 17, 2024

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 to explore a variety of STEM careers and connect with female role models. This an event for the general public to celebrate the ways that girls/women have made contributions to science as well as ways the science and STEM are a part of everyone lives. There will also be workshops available for more in-depth experiences.

If you are a university, business, organization or club, interested in hosting a table with interactive activities for our visitors during our Girls in Science Festival, please contact GirlsInScience@sciowa.org.

Festival activities are included with SCI general admission with the exclusion of the Advanced Workshops.

2024 FESTIVAL WORKSHOPS (included with SCI general admission)
Registration for each workshop is required and will be available onsite the day of the festival.

  • Robot Exploration (10:00-11:00 AM)
    Participants will be introduced to a wide variety of robots and tinker around with them and their code. How are they different? How are they similar? What could each of them be used for?
  • Micro:Bit Workshop (11:00 AM-Noon)
    Participants will be able to explore block-based coding with Micro:Bits. They will go through and complete tutorials and then explore their own free-style coding.
  • DND Oneshot (1:30-2:30 PM)
    Participants will get to experience all the excitement of Dungeons and Dragons in a compact, one hour mini-session! Session = “Chronicles of Curiosity: The Race to Save the Science Center!”

2024 ADVANCED FESTIVAL WORKSHOPS (Advanced workshops are NOT included with SCI general admission)
Registration and payment for each advanced workshop is required and will be available onsite the day of the festival.

  • Blood Slime (10:30-11:00 AM)
    Participants gain a better understanding of what kinds of cells are involved in blood by creating their very own “blood slime”! Participants get to take home their creation.
  • Cardboard Lantern (Noon-1:00 PM)
    Participants will get to make their own paper lantern and take it home! They can either use pre-made lights or solder their own.
  • Soldering Pin (2:30-3:30 PM)
    Participants will get to solder their very own pin that can light up!

Meals with Mentors (Grades 7–12)

2024 Date TBD (6:00–9:00 PM)

This is a more formal evening event where we pair up school age girls in grades 7-12, female college students in the STEM fields and female STEM professionals for an engaging evening here at SCI. Attendees will be served a plated dinner and participate in conversations about how STEM is important in their lives and career.

We are asking participants of this event to commit to attending one of two “Meet Ups”. Previous participants expressed they wanted the opportunity to get together again. So we have identified two dates for the “Meet Up” – Saturday, December 2, 2023 from 10:00–11:30 AM and Saturday, January 20, 2024 from 10:00–11:30 AM. Both “Meet Up” dates will include facilitated activities in the Innovation Lab and the chance to explore the museum.

This event is free for girls to attend

SciGirls® Camps

SciGirls is designed to give girls space to explore STEM in a new type of environment. SciGirls camps look to broaden girls’ STEM participation, build a positive STEM identity, increase their understanding of STEM learning goals, and experience wonders through STEM activities.

SciGirls®: Create (Grades 4-5)

June 17-21, 2024

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

STEM Learning Goals: Using the engineering design process, build creations to expand engineering skills and knowledge of the design process.  

SciGirls®: Conserve (Grades 4-5)

July 8-12, 2024

Do you love our planet and have a passion for protecting it? Join us for this remote camp held at Macrae Park where we will explore nature, ecology, botany, and survival. 

SCI Girls: Conserve is a remote camp held at Macrae Park.

STEM Learning Goals: SCI Girls will have an increased understanding of native species, habitats, and challenges facing our area.

SciGirls®: Code (Grades 6-8)

July 29-August 2, 2024

Do you have a desire to make the world a better place with the power of coding and robotics? Join us as we dig into coding, robotics, and technology in this camp. The tech is here, we need you to bring it to life!

STEM Learning Goals: SCI Girls will have an increased understanding of coding and robotics.

SCI Camps

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.