What is Rosie Riveters about? and What is its mission?
Rosie Riveters inspires the dreamers and doers of tomorrow. Our curriculum is based on providing a productive struggle to build participants' critical thinking, problem solving skills, and overall confidence in STEM. By working with a broad range of community partners Rosie Riveters is able to provide access to a diverse range of participants as well as insight into the adaptations required to meet varied community needs. Through this approach, Rosie Riveters is able to provide quality STEM programming in environments where community partners are working more broadly to mitigate social, environmental, or systematic factors that might otherwise limit participation in STEM.
It’s a well-known fact that women are underrepresented in STEM fields - they make up only 28% of the STEM workforce in the U.S. - and our organization aims to shift that staggering statistic. But it’s about more than just STEM. By age six, girls began to lose confidence in their academic abilities. Rosie Riveters addresses both of these issues by building girls’ confidence via STEM projects that emphasize productive struggle. We provide a safe space to fail, and actively promote an environment where participants get things wrong before they get them right. Overall, by embracing failure rather than avoiding it, we enable young women to build confidence in themselves and their ability to figure anything out - from building a hydraulic lamp to navigating a geometry class as the only girl amongst a bevy of boys.
What impact has Rosie Riveters had on girls participating in the program?
Our participants and their parents attest that our approach is working. “I have been a part of Rosie Riveters for over four years,” writes one participant, who began attending when she was in third grade. “[It] has given me the chance to explore my passions in STEM..[and] has always been a safe environment for me to learn. While the wonderful volunteers are always available to help us during projects, they teach us that it is better for us to untangle an issue through trial and error ourselves." As a parent put it, “Rosie Riveters has truly allowed my daughter to feel confident and brave in standing out, and I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be part of such an incredible organization." And, in the insightful words of a sixth-grader, "I believe that it is vitally important that little kids (especially young girls) be introduced to science at a young age before they [begin to believe that] science isn’t “cool.”’
We agree with her; it is “vitally important” that we begin the work of untangling the dual factors of decreasing confidence and fixed mindset that ultimately prevent so many young women from pursuing STEM - both academically and as a career - as early as possible. Our organization knows how, and as we recite with our participants at the end of each session, complete with arm crooked just like the original Rosie the Riveter, “we can do it.”
What does Women’s History Month mean for your organization?
Women's History Month is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of women in the past and present, while also reflecting on the work that still needs to be done to create a more inclusive and equitable future. With only 28% of the STEM workforce being women, Women's History Month is a reminder of the importance of empowering girls and providing them with the resources and support they need to pursue their interests and thrive in these fields. It is an opportunity to honor the women who have made significant contributions to STEM throughout history, while also highlighting the need for greater diversity and representation in these fields.
What meaning or influence have yesterday’s women had on your organization’s work?
The original Rosie the Riveters embodied the "We Can Do It" spirit, stepping up and stepping into roles that many had no previous experience in, in order to support the war effort. Their grit and determination inspired generations of women to pursue careers and roles that were previously closed off to them, demonstrating the incredible power of women to make positive change in the world. Rosie Riveters is focused on engaging and inspiring girls in STEM fields, and we draw on this spirit to inspire the next generation of female leaders. By instilling a "We Can Do It" attitude in young girls and providing them with opportunities to try new things and make them their own, Rosie Riveters aims to build confidence and empower girls to pursue their passions in STEM and beyond. The legacy of the original Rosie the Riveters continues to inspire girls today, demonstrating that with determination, perseverance, and a can-do attitude, anything is possible.
What message would you like to send to young girls in today’s world? What message would you like to send to parents of young girls?
To all the young girls out there, we want you to know that it's okay to fail. In fact, failure is a natural part of the learning process. No one is expecting you to have all the answers right away, but it's important to have the confidence to keep trying and figure things out. You have the ability to do great things, and there are programs, organizations, and people out there who are rooting for you and ready to support your dreams. Whenever times get tough, remember that you CAN do it. Don't give up, keep exploring, experimenting, and growing. We believe in you and can't wait to see what amazing things you will accomplish!
We also want parents to know that we are here for you too! We understand that supporting your child's STEM journey can be daunting, which is why we provide take-home and online resources to help continue your child's engagement with STEM. Our instructors and volunteers are passionate about empowering young girls to be strong, confident, and competent in STEM, and we're ready to support your child's dreams. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us. Together "We Can Do It!"
Are there any special events happening during this month of March? How are you celebrating?
We are celebrating Women's History Month with our third annual Women's History Hunt, a free, family-friendly event that celebrates the contributions of women in STEM fields. This event has a techie twist: participants use GPS-enabled devices to find clue boxes located in and around the Central Library in Arlington, VA. Each box contains notecards with instructions for a hands-on STEM activity, as well as a profile of a real woman in STEM. As participants collect all five notecards, they will learn about the remarkable achievements of women who have made significant contributions to STEM throughout history. Once all five notecards have been collected, kids can submit them to win a prize - a Rosie Riveters STEM kit. We've found our Women's History Hunt to be a fantastic way to engage families and inspire the next generation of female leaders in STEM. By highlighting the accomplishments of women in STEM and providing opportunities for hands-on learning, Rosie Riveters is helping to create a more diverse and inclusive STEM workforce for the future. Not in Northern, VA check out our Rosie Innovators STEM Night page to explore the experiments of the Women's History Hunt at home!
How can families sign up? General Info.
Rosie Riveters' programs are expanding across the United States! Currently, there are existing programs available in Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Jacksonville, FL, with new programs scheduled to launch in Hampton Roads, VA and Tampa, FL later this year. If you don't see a program in your community, reach out via our website to share your interest in bringing Rosie to your region. Additionally, you can explore a ton of free STEM activities at home through our Hands-on STEM site. Visit the programs page of the website to learn more about these activities and follow Rosie Riveters on social media for updates on upcoming events, programs, and volunteer opportunities. Rosie Riveters is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of female leaders in STEM, and we are thrilled to offer more opportunities for girls to explore their interests and pursue their passions.
Rosie Riveters is committed to the well-being of military families, and our partnership with Blue Star Families directly addresses their unique needs. Namely, the fact that military families relocate repeatedly; military-connected children move six to nine times during their K-12 education. By creating a network of Rosie Riveters’ programs on military bases we are providing all the benefits of our STEM programming while simultaneously offering continuous extracurricular engagement and community across relocation. Essentially, we want military children to access our programming wherever they go! We’re committed to military spouses as well, whose employment is similarly impacted by frequent PCS (permanent change of station). When we designed our military programming, we built it around hiring and training a core of military spouses as instructors who can “take” Rosie Riveters programs with them to new military bases when they move. It follows that we’re addressing a key need for this group - flexible, well-paid positions with ample room for advancement - while embracing relocation as an opportunity to expand our programs nationally. It’s a win-win-win - for military-connected children, spouses, and our organization!
Assistant Program Director
It's a Military Child Life