Category: STEM

Spotlight: Inspiring future female pilots with PreFlight!

This summer, High-Tech High Heels proudly sponsored PreFlight camp as one of our 2019 grantees to show young girls the sky is the limit when it comes to what they can achieve, including becoming a pilot.

Out of over 580,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificated pilots in the United States only 6.7 percent of them are women, and those numbers are not increasing. In fact, when compared to figures in 2010, the total number of female pilots has decreased nationally by 7.2 percent.

To help prepare girls to takeoff, High-Tech High Heels funded PreFlight Camp – a five-day aviation camp for preteen girls at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas in July.

They use aviation to transform girls’ beliefs about gender roles, increase their self-esteem and inspire them to become pilots. In the same way that a pilot must first perform a “preflight” before they can takeoff in their airplane, the camp is a young girls “preflight” into aviation.

Camp activities ranged from hands-on experiments and teambuilding exercises to piloting a simulator and flying an airplane with female flight instructors.  The lessons featured aerodynamics, airplane components, navigation, weather, airplane communications, and weight and balance. 

Campers were able to tour CFAN, a manufacturing facility that makes composite fan blades for GE engines on the Boeing 747, 777, and 787.  Another highlight included a look at WWII airplanes at the Commemorative Air Force Hangar and receiving a presentation on the Women Air Force Service Pilots.

Post camp results:

  • 58% increase in campers that reported wanting to be a pilot as a result of attending PreFlight Aviation Camp, compared to their answers on pre-camp surveys. 
  • 100% of campers agreed that the airplane flight helped them to believe that becoming a pilot is possible.
  • 100% of campers also agreed that having camp counselors who are pilots helped them to believe that becoming a pilot is possible.
  • 100% of campers agreed that attended PreFlight empowered them to achieve their goals.
  • 91% of campers agreed that attending PreFlight helped to build their self-esteem (2 campers answered ‘neutral’)

What did the campers think? 

  • “Preflight is really an engaging camp. I’d learned a lot about basic things in aviation and it gave me a new perspective about aviation. My favorite is when I got to fly and control the plane a bit. It really encouraged me as a woman to do my best in the STEM industry. And everyone is really nice & friendly.” – Rocelyn, 14
  • “Preflight was great. There were many excellent classes and some great tours like at CFAN and the day at the airport, especially flying the Cessna 172 Skyhawk… I would definitely recommend the camp to other girls” – Francesca, 15.
  • “Preflight was amazing! It exceeded all of my expectations and I did not want to leave this educational atmosphere of encouraging and inspirational counselors and leaders!” – Selena, 13
  • “This is the right camp if you want to get your brain thinking…I loved going up in the airplane and getting to fly it.”-Sophia, 12

Donate to High-Tech High Heels:

If you are interested in supporting High-Tech High Heels with funding for impactful programs such as PreFlight and want to inspire the next generation of girls to pursue college-level degrees in STEM, please consider a recurring or one-time donation here.

After-School All Stars building brighter futures through STEM – Destiny’s story

The first official day of summer is quickly approaching, and as the weather grows warmer and school draws to a close, many of the grantees from our most recent grant cycle are reflecting on recent spring programming and gearing up for summer STEM-based opportunities for young girls in our community.

Earlier this year, High-Tech High Heels granted $20,000 towards the After-School All-Stars (ASAS) North Texas #femSTEM Program to cover 2019 spring, summer and fall programming for middle school girls in Dallas County. 89 girls attended this spring, with 80-100 expected between summer and fall programming.

ASAS vision is for all of its All-Stars to be safe and healthy, to graduate high school and go to college, to find careers they love and then give back to their communities. ASAS’ partnership with High-Tech High Heels gives young girls in our community the opportunity to build interest in STEM, explore STEM careers and learn skills that will give them the tools needed to be successful in high school and beyond. For Destiny, a 7th grader at Hector P Garcia Middle School, ASAS offers her a safe place to grow in confidence, build relationships with caring adult mentors and just be a kid.

Read on for Destiny’s story and hear how HTHH’s support and partnership with ASAS build brighter futures for All-Star students.

Meet Destiny, a #femSTEM All-Star!

 “My name is Destiny and I am in 7th grade at Hector P Garcia Middle School. I joined All-Stars last year in November when I was in the 6th grade. Before I started coming to All-Stars, I was really shy at school and I wasn’t doing good in my classes. I didn’t let people see the real me. I also used to be in the streets, and for real I used to hang out with the wrong crowd. All-Stars has changed everything. 

I don’t hang out in the streets anymore after-school. Now I get to do really fun things at ASAS. Some of my favorite clubs are DJ Music Production, Fashion Design, and #femSTEM. Right now in #femSTEM we’re building boats out of paper plates and aluminum foil. At the end of year showcase we’re going to test them out, and see whose boat can hold the most pennies without sinking. I like #femSTEM a lot because I think it’s sometimes easier for me to try new things when it’s just girls around. Ms. Vonna, our #femSTEM teacher, makes it fun and she tries to help us learn the same things we’re learning at school. Earlier this year my grade had a big science lab project during the school day. Ms. Vonna talked to our science teachers and had the #femSTEM club do a project afterschool that used many of the same science words that were in the lab. It made it easier for me to understand at school!

The clubs are fun, but All-Stars is more than that. ASAS has taught me how to be a better person. My favorite memory is when we went on a volunteer field trip to help at a homeless shelter. We gave food to homeless people that didn’t have money. It made me feel good because I made a difference. Now every time my family doesn’t finish our food at home we give the extra to homeless by the freeway. The field trip made me realize how many people are less fortunate than me. Some people give back because it makes them feel good, but I do it because I like helping people. I used to be greedy and a bad person and I thought everyone in the world deserved what they got. All-Stars taught me how to see other people and my community differently. I understand that everyone has hard times and has problems.

 I’m so thankful that All-Stars came into my life last year. I know if I wasn’t here after-school I would be doing things I shouldn’t out in the neighborhood. All-Stars has taught me to be a better person, try harder in school, and given me opportunities to learn new things. 

ASAS really is everything to me. I’ve grown tremendously through All-Stars. My grades are up, and I’ve come out of my shell a lot since last year. Mrs. T, our Site Coordinator, encouraged me to be myself and do things I thought I couldn’t do. All the staff puts up with us every day and we’re a lot of work! I’m grateful the staff hasn’t given up on us. I’m so glad I have All-Stars.”

Donate to High-Tech High Heels

If you are interested in supporting High-Tech High Heels with funding impactful programs that inspire the next generation of girls to select a college-level degree program in STEM, consider a recurring or one-time donation here.

2016 Physics Camp Registration Deadline Coming Soon

Hurry and register for the Design Connect Create! 2016 summer physics camps for young women.

After serving more than 900 young women from 2003 through 2014, the AP Physics Camp program launched by High-Tech High Heels formally transitioned to the Design Connect Create! 501(c)(3) organization last year.

DCC’s charter is to close the gender gap in STEM by empowering young women to excel in AP Physics. In 2015 they reached almost 300 students through their summer camp program. This program is critical because high school physics is the place where most women opt out of STEM fields, just at the time when they are choosing a college and a degree plan.

How to register

Rising 9th-12th graders who plan to take their first physics course in the fall can register for this immersive hands-on experience to explore and have fun with physics. Students form a deep understanding and build confidence to move forward and persist in STEM. The camps deliver action-packed days filled with labs, female guest speakers, interactive problem solving, field trips and engineering challenges.

Sign up for a 2016 camp

Watch a video to see what camp is like





HTHH is Making an Impact

Did you know U.S. women are earning fewer degrees in STEM fields today than they were a decade ago? According to this Washington Post article, bachelor’s degrees earned by women have declined in every category—from engineering to mathematics to computer sciences.

Photo credit: Washington Post
Photo credit: Washington Post

These statistics are unacceptable by any standard. High-Tech High Heels is committed to changing the trend, and the high-quality programs we fund are making a measurable impact to close the gender gap in STEM fields.

For example: since 2001, 996 girls have attended the Physics Camp delivered by our partner Design Connect Create!. Based on a 2006 Dallas ISD cohort, girls who attended Physics Camp were 2.6x more likely to earn a STEM degree and 5x more likely to earn an engineering degree than non-campers. Our support allows DCC to continue scaling the camp to allow more girls to attend.

Another example is how National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) is improving STEM gender equity among educators. NAPE’s programs build awareness and enhance skills in equity training, as well as dispel stereotypes about STEM careers. Since 2001, 767 STEM teachers have attended gender equity training, and 940 counselors have attended workshops on STEM careers in DFW. NAPE has reached about 40,000 students annually. Here is a recent video that shows NAPE’s impact.

Since High-Tech High Heels was founded, we have granted more than $410,000 to programs that further our mission. In 2015, in addition to funding our core programs, we funded exciting new programs to increase our impact. 2015 was our highest granting year to date, yet we still have more to do.

Your donations enable us to provide grants to more organizations and programs that close the gender gap in STEM. By introducing your colleagues, family and friends to High-Tech High Heels, you educate others about the reality of the gender gap and empower them to make a difference. Together, let’s change the statistics.