May 04, 2015

Project Development Helps Launch the League’s New Focus Area

By Amy Truel, Project Development Committee

The Tech Museum was little more than a dream in 1978 when the Junior League of Palo AltoŸMid Peninsula (JLPAŸMP) hit upon the idea to create a dynamic learning center devoted to science and technology. This idea led to the founding of The Tech Museum of Innovation, incorporated in 1983 as a nonprofit in Junior League member Julie Rose’s kitchen.

With a new focus on encouraging girls to engage with technology, we have re-teamed with The Tech to launch three exciting initiatives. One will pair league members with middle school girls participating in The Tech Challenge, an annual team design challenge for 4-12 grade that reinforces the scientific and engineering process with a hands-on project to solve a real-world problem.  The league will also provide funding to establish "Girls @ The Tech Days," a new program focused on engaging girls with STEM education. 

Girls from the Peninsula will be transported to The Tech, where they will participate in hands-on workshops, interact with exhibits, and hear from women working in tech today.  Members will also aid in establishing the Girls @ The Tech Committee, which will help provide future community and financial support for the museum.

"The Tech is enormously grateful for the support provided by the JLPAŸMP," said Jessica Christie, Director of Individual Giving at The Tech. "Without their efforts the museum would not exist, and their renewed support will allow us to focus on the crucial issue of inspiring girls to connect with STEM."

We are also launching an exciting new project with Technovation, a program that was founded right here in Mountain View in 2010 and now reaches girls in 60 countries around the world.  Technovation runs an annual mobile
app startup competition for girls, challenging them to create apps for the purpose
of solving real problems in their communities.  The girls work with volunteer coaches
(or teachers) and women professionals who serve
as mentors. 
As a capacity building project, the goal is to increase the number of girls ages 10-18 who develop competence and confidence in technology and entrepreneurship in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties by engaging local teachers and women in technology to coordinate the program for local students.  Committee members will participate in outreach and collaboration with local school, community and corporate leaders, and organize events such as workshops and a regional pitch event.
These partnerships are the result of a long-term planning process during which league members engaged with several community organizations to assess needs and identify potential projects.  The new focus area, Getting and Keeping Girls in Technology, will take effect in June of 2015, and will continue for five years. 
"Our team did an outstanding job of becoming experts in each issue area and identifying various strategies for our membership to create meaningful and measurable community impact," commented Project Development Committee co-chair and immediate past president, Joy Baker Peacock.  
Two of our committee members will be leading the new projects, a testament to their commitment.  Kate Thome will be chair for the Tech Challenge Mentors project and Samantha Quist will be co-chair for the Technovation Capacity Building project.  “We are grateful for their support and fortunate to have continuity from project selection to execution,” commented Project Development co-chair Noelle Santamaria.
Thank you to the 2014-15 Project Development Team!