NEW YORK, December 15, 2011- On December 10, the night the 2011 Nobel Prizes were presented in Sweden, as well as the centennial of Marie Curie's 2nd Nobel Prize, the New York Academy of Sciences hosted an event entitled Celebrating Women in Science at the Academy's New York headquarters. At the event, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the creation of the NeXXt Scholars Initiative—an innovative education initiative designed to encourage women to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers—via video address. The Academy then announced a partnership with the Girl Scouts of the USA to expand its Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program to provide scientific mentorship to middle school-age Girl Scouts nationwide.
A host of notable women participated in the evening, including honorary guest Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine of Sweden and keynote speaker Ellen Kullman, chair of the board and CEO of DuPont, as well as several women's college presidents and women scientists. Attendees included influential scientists, as well as leaders from government, academia, industry, and philanthropy. The event served to catalyze action around a common goal: increasing the participation of women in STEM fields, both at the student and professional levels.
The NeXXt Scholars Initiative seeks to empower women in predominantly Muslim countries to obtain world-class STEM undergraduate education at more than 30 U.S. women's colleges. In addition to a high-quality STEM education, this U.S. government partnership initiative will provide mentorship, networking, support, and enrichment activities for these international NeXXt Scholars and an American student nominated to be her STEM-sister. The Academy will support these efforts by providing Academy memberships and mentorship to these women, connecting scholars with a large network of women in STEM fields through its Science Alliance program.
Dr. E. William Colglazier, the Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary, also provided remarks, detailing how his office is leading this initiative in cooperation with USAID and partners such as the Academy and more than 30 U.S. women's colleges.
The Academy and the Girl Scouts of the USA announced a partnership to design and implement a STEM Mentoring Program for Girl Scouts, modeled on the Academy's Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program. The program will be adapted and scaled to the Girl Scouts' network of more than 100 councils across the country. The goal is to identify and train young women scientists to serve as role models and mentors, working in collaboration with Girl Scouts volunteers to bring high-quality, hands-on, informal science education opportunities to middle school-age Girl Scouts.
Despite the remarkable contributions of women in science, such as those made by Marie Curie—one of only three scientists to twice win the Nobel Prize and the only person to win in two scientific disciplines, women are greatly underrepresented in STEM fields, both in the U.S. and abroad. To combat this disparity, the Academy is proud to be a part of STEM initiatives that target girls and women at all levels of their educational training.
To get involved in the NeXXt Scholars Initiative, e-mail NeXXtScholars@state.gov
About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide since 1817. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at www.nyas.org.