STEM: AAUW Programs in Pennsylvania

AAUW Beaver Valley

Girls’ Recognition Night is a program that recognizes eighth grade girls from Beaver County Middle Schools who have an exceptional interest in the fields of math and science. The girls are selected by their Math and Science teachers for their enthusiasm and talent in Science and Math, components of the (STEM) subjects. The girls are recognized with a certificate and a pass to the Carnegie Science Center.

A panel of three to five women who are currently working in one or more of the STEM areas discuss their education and careers. They describe their professions and give the young women an insight for the possibilities open to them as they continue their studies in the STEM fields. There is an opportunity for questions after the presentation.


AAUW Erie Branch and Edinboro University were award a national AAUW Tech Savvy grant for their event held in April 2015. Tech Savvy is a daylong event designed to show girls firsthand how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields can lead to exciting careers. The keynote presentation was given by Mandy Tinkey, the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner for the College of Science and Health Professions at Edinboro University.

AAUW Fox Chapel Area

Chatham Career Launching Awards
Since 2009, Fox Chapel Area AAUW has annually provided grant money to Chatham University graduating senior women majoring in a STEM-related field.  The Fox Chapel Area AAUW Chatham Women-Ready-to Lead-Career-Launching Award grants of $1000 each are given to students who are nominated by Chatham faculty, demonstrate financial need based on a financial aid application in Chatham’s Financial Aid office, and comply with our branch specifications to complete application.    Recipients are selected by Chatham’ University’s review committee with final review by Fox Chapel Area AAUW. Each awardee is able to use the grant in whatever way will be most beneficial to her as she pursues post-graduate studies or employment. For example, some students have used the funds to help pay moving expenses to graduate school or employment, apply to interview costs or help defray student loan payments.

Young Women’s Recognition Night (YWRN) We recognize and encourage young women for their strong interest, enthusiasm and potential in math or science at a biennial celebration of our branch’s guiding principles in action at Young Women’s Recognition Night to encourage young girls to pursue math and science studies in high school and beyond. Girls from grades 6–8, selected by their math and science teachers at Dorseyville Middle School, are recognized. It is hoped that the recognition and panel discussion by women working or studying in the STEM fields, and interaction with the panelists will encourage middle school students to continue to pursue their interests in one of these fields in school and as careers.

STEM–CAREERS ACHIEVEMENT NIGHT (STEM-CAN). This program honors and recognizes Fox Chapel Area High School female students selected by their STEM teachers for an exceptional interest, enthusiasm, and ability for these subjects, as well as a potential for growth or career aspirations in these fields. STEM-CAN is designed to encourage high school girls to continue to take math and science courses in high school and beyond. They have the opportunity to listen to and ask questions of guest panelists who have pursued careers in STEM.

AAUW Lansdale

Discover Your Future is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) event for girls in grades 5, 6 or 7 in local public or private schools. In addition to a keynote speaker, girls participate in hands-on workshops presented by female STEM professionals and a Discovery Lab of experiments.

A dedicated DYF website was created in 2015 to serve as a year-long resource to students, teachers, and parents. Information on the website includes careers, activities, other area programs, camps, competitions, and a monthly featured video, activity, and role model.

AAUW Makefield Area and Northeastern Montgomery County

Philadelphia Area Girls Enjoying Science (PAGES) is an award-winning program that gives sixth-grade girls a hands-on experience with science. We offer mini-conferences once each fall and spring at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA.

Our goals are:

  • To increase girls’ interest in science and mathematics
  • To provide students an opportunity to meet women working in non-traditional fields
  • To foster an awareness of varied career opportunities for women

Each mini-conference begins with a breakfast snack and a keynote address given by a local woman with an interesting career in science. The participants are then divided into small groups to move into the labs to perform three different experiments. Each experiment is led by a female scientist or team of scientists. The day ends with lunch, give-aways, door prizes, and decorating a banner.

The program is supported by the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) and Northeastern Montgomery County and Makefield Area Branches of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

If you are interested in being added to our mailing list please contact us at

AAUW State College

The Branch engages in four types of STEM initiatives; each is described briefly below:

After-school STEM programs for middle school girls. In conjunction with three local school districts, the Branch co-sponsors multi-week after school programs with a STEM focus. The school districts and programs are listed below:

  • State College: Challenging Science Investigations (CSI)
  • Bellefonte: Girls Love Science (GaLS)
  • Bald Eagle Area: Girls Active in Math, Engineering and Science (GAMES)

MATHH (Magical Adventures for Talented Heroines and Heroes). In conjunction with Schlow Centre Region Library and Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania children’s museum, the Branch co-sponsors a three-week summer program for elementary-aged children. The one-hour long program begins with the reading of a children’s book that highlights an interesting math or science concept at Schlow Centre Region Library. The participants then walk to Discovery Space for an interactive demonstration or activity.

STEM Mini-grants. This program was established to award up to $500 per proposal to support local STEM initiatives. Criteria include:

  • Evidence of intended direct local impact on Centre County resident girls and/or women
  • Primary focus upon participation in STEM
  • Demonstration of need for financial assistance from AAUW State College Branch, and
  • Evidence that AAUW State College Branch will be publicly acknowledged for its supportive contribution

STEM Scholarships. Middle and high school girls with financial need may apply for scholarships to attend Penn State University’s Science-U camps for summer 2015.

AAUW West Chester-Chester County 

Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) began in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 2001 as a response to the under-representation of young women in the computer and information technology fields. Since that time, GETT has expanded its experiences to include the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM). GETT is an annual day-long event in the spring for girls in grades 6-12 and their parents that celebrates women in STEAM careers and spotlights career opportunities in a broad scope of technology-related industries. The day is filled with exciting, enlightening, experiential workshops led by successful women in technology.

GETT is an initiative of the Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG) and driven by the volunteer efforts of numerous public, private and educator organizations, along with public and private investments. AAUW, West Chester-Chester County Branch has proudly volunteered and contributed to GETT for the 15 years of its existence.

Parents and Educators Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (PETT).

PETT is a new program developed in response to the ongoing needs expressed by parents and educators who attended the one-day girls STEM event, Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) held every March. GETT began in Chester County, Pennsylvania in 2001 as a response to the under-representation of young women in the computer and information technology fields. PETT will provide parents and educators with the resources they need to help create a supportive, nurturing environment for girls in grades 6-12 who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). PETT will bridge the gap between girls’ desire to pursue STEM studies and the support needed from parents and educators to realize this goal as well as work to change the negative perception of girls and STEM.

At AAUW West Chester-Chester County, we are extremely passionate about this wonderful new program. PETT received a 2013-2014 AAUW Community Action Grant to respond to these needs. Through our collaboration with the Innovative Technology Action Group (ITAG), Chester County Economic Development Council, the Chester County Intermediate Unit, and the Chester County Library System, we truly believe that this program will not only be a huge success, but will also prove highly sustainable.

Parents-Educators Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology has created this Resource Center site in response to needs expressed by parents and educators of girls interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) who attended the one-day girls STEM event, Girls Exploring Tomorrow’s Technology (GETT) held every spring in Chester County, PA for the past 15 years. PETT was originally funded by an AAUW Community Action Grant for the 2013-2014 grant year.

Let’s Read Math

Americans love to hate math. Let’s Read Math™ is about building positive attitudes towards math. No more “I hate math.” No more “I could never do math.” These are messages that children don’t need to hear. We work with children and the adults who care for children – their parents, grandparents, teachers, after school daycare providers, camp counselors, scout leaders, and others.

Let’s Read Math™ began as a community outreach project of the Makefield Area (PA) Branch

of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). In October 2004, “Dr. Claire” Passantino and other AAUW volunteers began doing parent-child workshops at the local library in Yardley,PA. The purpose was to make parents and children aware of the growing body of children’s literature with themes related to mathematics. At each Let’s Read Math workshop, we would read good books and do FUN math activities. Our intent was to get people to stop saying “I hate math, I could never do math.” These are negative messages that children do not need to hear.

Outside AAUW, Let‛s Read Math has made its way into schools and school districts, after school centers, day camps, scout troops, YWCAs, family literacy centers, and teacher education programs in colleges and universities. Dr. Passantino founded an umbrella organization called “Projects in Education” and continues to develop workshops, write Funbooks and provide professional development services related to Let‛s Read Math, with assistance from a growing staff. As of 2014, we estimate that over 5,000 adults and 40,000 children have experienced Let’s Read Math. We are aware of programs taking place in at least 40 different states. Let’s Read Math is in the process of moving to Philadelphia, with exciting new opportunities for extending and enriching our program offerings, especially within the OST community (out-of-school-time).

Funbooks are designed to promote math conversations and the enjoyment of math. Our original intent was for children to explore math topics in a non-threatening way, as an exposure to new ideas rather than for purposes of mastering content. However, the math topics are directly related to the Common Core Standards, and are especially well-suited to implementing the Standards for Mathematical Practice. Lessons can be used to supplement or enrich the math curriculum, or for re-teaching topics to children who need alternative learning strategies. The first Funbooks were targeted to grades K-4, with an emphasis on grades 2-3. In 2007, Funbooks were introduced for primary grades and upper elementary grades. Additional guides are available for turning Let’s Read Math lessons into family nights for parents and children together.

Besides AAUW, the program has received grant funding from Verizon‛s Check Into Literacy Program, the Wachovia Foundation, United Way, General Electric, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Thank you for your support. We are working very hard to teach adults and children how to…HAVE FUN WITH MATH!

AAUW Branches offering Let’s Read Math

AAUW Allentown-Bethlehem

This joint venture with AAUW-Allentown combines a piece of children’s literature with an interactive math lesson. And, thanks to the retired elementary teachers in our group, the stories we “teach” reinforce state and national math and reading standards. With all the recent cutbacks in funding for public education, the teachers are thrilled to have this program come to their schools. But the best part is seeing the children “light up” when they “get” the concept.

AAUW Easton

Let’s Read Math Summer 2015. We have continued our Let’s Read Math programs for the summer reading programs at the Easton Library downtown as well as the Palmer Branch and Project’s Sizzle Program. Books used included The Greedy Triangle, How Big is a Foot?, The Sundae Scoop, Ben Franklin and the Magic Square, and Math-terpieces. Twenty-one volunteers have helped with these program.

Math topics include measuring, geometric figures, counting, organizing, representing, and interpreting data in graphs, Fun ideas include making and eating an ice cream sundae, and making geometric figures including pyramids and prisms.

AAUW Makefield Area

Let’s Read Math (LRM) is a program developed by Dr. Claire Passantino, a member of the Makefield Area Branch of AAUW. The program began as a local community outreach project in fall 2004, for elementary school children who attended the monthly LRM Saturday workshops at the Yardley library.

The LRM parent-child workshops at the library have been very successful. The project has grown within AAUW, with enormous support from the West Chester/Chester County Branch of AAUW, who launched their own Let’s Read Math programs in summer 2005, at the West Chester YWCA. Other branches of AAUW are now joining in the fun, with three other AAUW branches beginning their work in spring 2006.

After receiving an AAUW Educational Foundation grant to grow the project, other grants followed, from Verizon and Wachovia Bank. Verizon’s Check Into Literacy Program funded work with teachers in schools, and Wachovia funded work at the library and work at the West Chester and Bucks County YWCAs. The outreach has now extended beyond AAUW. Let’s Read Math workshops and materials are being used in classrooms, at family nights for parents and children together, in libraries, at after school centers, in family centers, and in summer day camps. Dr. Passantino now works with school districts, after school groups, YWCAs, colleges and professional associations to promote the use of Let’s Read Math in other venues. She has established a close relationship with Center for Math, Science, Technology and Pre-Engineering at The College of New Jersey, to promote Let’s Read Math across the state of New Jersey.

The National Center for Family Literacy contracted with Dr. Claire to write an introductory course about using children’s literature with math. A FREE 2-hour online course called “Let’s Read Math” is now offered to literacy volunteers and staff who work to promote family literacy. The course is offered over the Verizon Literacy Campus at Take a peek! It’s FREE!

The Library Contest. Last spring, Wachovia Bank funded the first-ever Let’s Read Math reading contest at the Yardley library. Approximately 100 children participated in the contest, which involved independent reading and completion of math activities in the Let’s Read Math “Funbook 1” published by Dr. Passantino. Different goals were set for children of different ages. We had a big celebration and children who reached their benchmarks received certificates and small prizes, donated by local realtor Colleen Evanchik, Staples, Borders, and Commerce Bank.

STEM AAUW National Programs

Tech Savvy 

Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls in sixth through ninth grade to these fields and to inform families about STEM education and careers.

Although the program focuses on exciting girls about STEM, Tech Savvy also includes an important program for parents. This component encourages families to reinforce the girls’ interest in STEM. Keep reading for more details on the program for girls and their families.

AAUW is now accepting applications for the 2016 Tech Savvy program (deadline September 18, 2015), taking the AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch’s highly successful, one-day science, technology, engineering, and math conference for girls nationwide. In 2015, 17 selected AAUW branches or states implement Tech Savvy for the girls and parents in their community. Stay tuned for the 2016 sites this fall.

Tech Trek

Girls find their passion for high-tech careers at AAUW’s Tech Trek camps. Through hands-on problem solving and encounters with women role models in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), Tech Trek helps girls see their futures while having nonstop fun. Since 1998, AAUW has helped change girls’ lives through Tech Trek, an experiential summer camp backed by research and designed to make STEM exciting and accessible to girls in middle school — the age when research shows girls’ participation in these fields drops. For many girls, the weeklong camp sparks their curiosity and places them on a path toward success.

Research is the Foundation 

You can’t solve a problem if you don’t understand it. AAUW’s research elucidates the environmental and social barriers that face women and girls in STEM and offers pragmatic recommendations for families, schools, communities, industry, and beyond.


Why Are There So Few Women in STEM?

Why Are There So Few Women in STEM?

In 2010, we released a groundbreaking report on the environmental and social barriers to women’s participation and progress in STEM. The report also included statistics on girls’ and women’s achievements and participation in these areas and offered new ideas on how to fully open STEM fields to all.