Catalysts for Change
Catalysts for Change is an outreach program for St. Louis high school girls stemming from Washington University’s undergraduate Women in Science Program, which is a four-year mentoring program for young women in the STEM disciplines. As part of the Women In Science program, undergraduate women, supported by graduate women in the sciences, help organize and lead Catalysts for Change, a two-day STEM workshop for high-school girls across the St. Louis area. Since 2011, 244 high-school girls, from 44 St. Louis-area high schools, have participated in Catalysts for Change. The program employs a three-tiered mentoring structure that gives graduate students the chance to create lab lessons and undergraduate women the chance to learn from female graduate students while helping younger girls grow in confidence in the STEM fields.
Washington University Chemistry graduate students:
- create lab lessons
- design and teach fun science activities
- mentor undergraduate students
Washington University Chemistry Undergraduate Students:
- Serve as mentors for high-school students
- Act as team leaders to guide the students through fun experiments
- Network with diverse female STEM professionals working in various careers ranging from civil engineering to pharmaceuticals to zoo medicine
St. Louis Area High School Students:
- Learn about principles in materials science, the process of photosynthesis, and chemical properties and reactions.
- Connect with college students who show them where they could be in their studies in a few years
- Recognize that they will need to develop a good foundation in the fundamentals of various STEM disciplines for more specialized study in the future
- Explore diverse STEM careers by meeting with successful local women in STEM fields
Catalysts for Change is a collaboration between the Women in Science Program, the Department of Chemistry, the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, and The Teaching Center. Since 2012, the program has been funded by the Department of Chemistry, The Teaching Center, and a grant from the Women’s Society of Washington University.