Why is STEM Learning so important to out-of-school time programs?

Expanded STEM Learning opportunities are extremely popular in out-of-school time programs in Virginia. In fact, 68% of Virginia afterschool programs offer STEM. Afterschool and summer learning programs are uniquely situated to spark interest by allowing children and youth the space to explore and experiment with STEM while eliminating the repercussion of academic failure. Furthermore, the environment encourages students to dive deep into specific STEM topics and collaborate with similarly interested peers. Investment in STEM education is critical in preparing Virginia’s future workforce given that the Commonwealth is steeped in demand for a STEM-based careers. As such, VPOST has named advancing OST STEM as a top initiative.

Million Girls Moonshot in Virginia

VPOST is proud to be a part of the Million Girls Moonshot, a collective impact initiative designed to increase access in STEM. Million Girls Moonshot is working to close the persistent race and gender gap in STEM fields by engaging one million girls across the United States in STEM pursuits through high-quality, innovative afterschool learning opportunities.  

Partners in the Million Girls Moonshot include founders — The Intel Foundation, STEM Next Opportunity Fund, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation — and a growing number of technology leaders, charitable organizations, and other entities, such as NASA, Lockheed Martin, If/Then (an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies), CISCO, Samueli Foundation, Panasonic, Qualcomm, Technovation, STEMconnector, National Girls Collaborative Project, Jobs For The Future (JFF), and Techbridge Girls.

How Does Million Girls Moonshot Work?

Rather than promote a prescriptive program, the Moonshot has identified four Transformative Practice Areas, as strategies to effectively engage girls/girl-identifying youth and BIPOC youth in STEM.

Access to STEM Framework
Removing barriers by applying an equity-based framework that creates space for all learners

Engineering Mindsets
Fostering an Engineering Mindset to address the wide gender gap in engineering careers

Role Models, Mentors, and Families
Building a support system for girls and youth through role models, mentors, and families

STEM Transitions and Pathways
Connecting STEM learning opportunities across ages and settings

The Moonshot in Virginia and How You Can Get Involved

The Million Girls Moonshot is unique in both its scale and approach. We invite educators, charitable organizations, technology leaders, and policy leaders to join us.

  • Sign Up for Our Newsletter: Sign up for VPOST twice monthly Million Girls Moonshot newsletter. Here we will announce the latest news and updates. Opportunities include free STEM training and resources, grant opportunities, program spotlights, and more.
  • Become a partner: Help us reach more youth by providing financial or in-kind support. We want to co-design partnerships of all sizes and from all sectors including workforce and STEM councils.
  • Attend Events or Trainings: Events and trainings hosted by VPOST are offered on an on-going basis. Subscribe to our newsletter and social media for the latest opportunities. Below are examples of some of our current and past opportunities!

Featured VPOST STEM Projects