Girls Engaged in Navy STEM (gen-STEM)

Who are we?

Girls Engaged in NAVY STEM(gen-STEM) is a program that aims to support young girls, as well as cultivate and maintain their interest in STEM fields. Our program focuses on the impact and use of STEM within the US Navy and works to empower girls to become involved with naval advancement. 

Why are we necessary?

Stats have been gathered that indicate girls gain interest in STEM fields around age 11 and then quickly lose interest around age 15. This loss of interest is generally attributed to gender stereotypes, pressure to conform to societal expectations, traditional gender roles, and/or a lack of female role models in STEM fields. Our program is led by Dr. Lexi Hain and female undergraduate students in STEM fields which provides female role models to students reached by our program. 


“[STEM] is not a boy’s game, it’s not a girl’s game. It’s everyone’s game. It’s about where we are and where we’re going.” – Nichelle Nichols


What can be done at home?

Celebrate the Accomplishments of Women Who Made Considerable Advances in STEM

  • Find books, films, or TV shows that feature women in STEM. You want to expose your children to a person they can relate to and see themselves becoming. This can be done by taking the time to talk about the books, films, etc. you’re exposing them to and trying to show your child how they can have things in common with the successful women they see.

  • There can be a lack of representation in media and seeing men in STEM is not bad. But to promote the schema (ingrained idea) that women belong in STEM you can recognize the roles men play in the media you consume and try introducing women you know, whether personally or in some other way, that fill those roles in real life.

Demystify STEM and Make it FUN

  • Expose STEM to girls so they know that it is larger than just labs or research. Technology can be used in the more traditional way, but it can also be used for things like creating music and art. 

  • STEM in general can intersect with a lot of other disciplines and show girls that their interest can be enriched through STEM. When your child demonstrates curiosity about STEM, try finding activities they can do to grow their interest. Encourage the family to get involved and find ways to integrate learning about STEM into daily life.

Build Up Her Confidence and Skills

Kids are naturally curious, just give them a space to explore and solve problems on their own!

  • Encourage your child to do things that excite them

  • Support them when things are challenging

  • Reinforce and reward positive behaviors like questioning, trying new things, persevering, and working hard

Reinforce with kids, and especially with girls, that gender stereotypes shouldn’t limit them

  • Try not to describe items or toys as only for boys or only for girls

  • Tell your child that they can do or try anything that they are curious about and/or that they enjoy

  • Children have a wealth of imagination and creativity and removing boundaries on how they explore that is important

  • Give your child a variety of toys, such as trucks, dolls, dinosaurs, kitchen sets and toolboxes to expose them to concepts such as motion, cooperation, and many more

  • Provide your child the opportunity to follow their interest regardless of stereotypical gender norms.

  • Ignite their interest at a young age, engage with STEM often before this happens so they are confident in pursuing what they value

Kids need to believe that it’s ok to fail, so they’re not afraid to try.

What to focus on?

  • Emphasize the skills that underlie STEM fields

    • Curiosity, observation, problem-solving, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication.

  • Allow your child to explain the world they see in their own words

  • Encourage conversations with the questions, “Why?” “How?” and “What If?” 

    • These questions have your child think and problem solve which is the foundation for STEM and learning