Catalyst: An agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action.
So read the program for the Science Club for Girls (SCFG) 2013 Catalyst Awards, held recently at the NERD Center, where two individuals and one institution were honored for being “strategic, innovative and effective in promoting diversity in science, technology and engineering; who are skilled and dedicated to effecting change from a system down to a personal level to help individuals and groups realize their dreams.”
This year’s catalysts were Jennifer Chayes, Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director at Microsoft New England; Shirley Malcolm, Head of Education and Human Resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); and Cubist Pharmaceuticals, pioneers in creating an inclusive work environment. One-hundred and seventy-five other executives, professionals, academics, and SCFG participants and their family members joined these honorees for a unique evening of recognition and, of course, science!
That’s right. A SCFG event wouldn’t have been complete without a bit of experimentation, so the audience was challenged to build a homopolar motor with just a nail, an AA battery, a piece of aluminum foil and a magnet. SCFG’s Rocket Team, which qualified for national finals this past spring, was also there to showcase just how much these girls are able to accomplish.
As SCFG works to solve the mystery of the missing women in science, the awards ceremony was a great way to both exemplify successful women in STEM and encourage another generation of young girls to enter STEM fields.
“It’s essential that girls realize science and engineering are creative and collaborative fields that allow us to help envision the future. We need to amplify this message to everyone who doesn’t fit the standard technologist stereotype and embrace people who can work collaboratively and design the future,” advised Chayes, who obviously embodies the definition of a catalyst.
To learn more about SCFG or this year’s catalysts, head to their website. If you would like to make a donation to support SCFG’s free programs and help inspire another generation of female STEM leaders, consider participating in the organization’s Holiday Challenge here.