HOW TO BECOME A WOMAN OF WONDER
Are you inspired to start following your passion and blazing your own trail like the ladies in this book? Here’s a guide to amazing organizations for ladies of all ages looking to expand their horizons in science, technology, and beyond.
Science, Technology, and Engineering
This nonprofit provides affordable, accessible software-development programs across the United States. There’s probably a chapter of GIRL DEVELOP IT near you. Charlottesville (VA) has the Code and Coffee Study Group, Columbus (OH) has Hack Night, Fort Collins (CO) has an introduction to Git and Github, Ann Arbor (MI) has a lesson on Securing Your Website…and the list goes on. All totally worthwhile, full of beginners, and judgment free.
Reshma Saujani, former deputy public advocate of New York City, founded GIRLS WHO CODE, which offers a wide variety of programs to help gals gain computing skills. Choose the Summer Immersion Program for seven weeks of intense training. Or if you’re already a seasoned coder, volunteer to lead workshops for tomorrow’s young women coders.
This ten-week, women-only course will take you from beginner to software engineer—and 90 percent of the academy’s graduates get job offers. Now that is a good investment. HACKBRIGHT even provides scholarships for women from traditionally marginalized backgrounds—score!
In addition to organizing tons of events for girls of all ages, the SOCIETY OF WOMEN ENGINEERS offers scholarships for ladies thinking about pursuing engineering in college.
Kimberly Bryant felt culturally isolated while studying technology in college; she shared aspirations with her classmates, but not much else. To encourage more girls of color to get into fields like robotics and game design, she founded BLACK GIRLS CODE in 2011, and now there are classes at chapters all over America!
Part of the National Academy of Engineering, ENGINEERGIRL was founded with the support of a nationwide Girls Advisory Board. It provides helpful access to everything from mentors and scholarships to the opportunity to try on an engineering career for a day! Perfect for anyone who’s ever wanted to build cool stuff.
Although 47 percent of gamers are female, women make up only 12 percent of the games industry. With programs ranging from Intro to Programming and Game Design to Audio Engineering and Board Game Design, GIRLS MAKE GAMES has something for anyone who wants to get hands-on game-building experience—and improve those aforementioned dismal statistics.
Primarily aimed at girls up to the seventh grade, ROBOGALS was founded to rectify the fact that women make up only 10.9 percent of all engineers in Australia. Now Robogals has chapters across North America (at the California Institute of Technology and Columbia University) that are designed to get girls building and programming. How much fun would 10-year-old you have making your own robot?
A global nonprofit based in San Francisco, GIRLS IN TECH aims to make the world a better place for women interested in technology and entrepreneurship. It organizes a ton of initiatives for girls and women to “enhance their professional aspirations” (nice!), including conferences, hackathons, mentorships, even a two-month bootcamp.
Curious about getting into medicine or med sci, but no idea where to begin? Check out MILLION WOMEN MENTORS for a wicked cool lady in your area, living the brainiac dream. With over 200,000 mentorship pledges, it’s mathematically proven to be inspiring. There’s also the FabFems (fabfems.org), where the National Girls Collaborative Project lists mentors by ethnicity, if you want to chat with someone who has the same cultural background as you.
A global sisterhood of women physicians of color, the ARTEMIS MEDICAL SOCIETY raises awareness for healthcare in minority communities, hosts an annual conference, and even has an academy where women of color interested in becoming doctors can partner with existing Artemis members to help them succeed.
If you or someone you know is still a junior or senior in high school and is interested in medicine, the MAGEE-WOMENS RESEARCH INSTITUTE INTERNSHIP is the thing to do. Not only can you get published at the end of the program, but you also get paid for your time there. Heck, yes.
Founded and directed by two 17-year-old heroines, THE SYNAPSE PROJECT uses information and mentorship to encourage women to get into neuroscience. On their site, you can learn all about the brain and current developments in neuroscience. And if you dig it, you can network for some cool internships and jobs.
Anyone can become a member of the AMERICAN WOMEN’S MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, whether you’re a physician, resident, medical student, pre-med student, health care professional, or even just a supporter of women in medicine. Founded in 1915, AMWA fights for improvements for women in medical science, and it’s pretty darn awesome all-round.
Obviously, becoming a spy is not quite as simple as Googling “how to become a spy.” WOMEN IN HOMELAND SECURITY is a nonprofit with over 3,000 members that teaches ladies about what it takes to prevent incidents in the United States on the local, state, and federal levels. They even have a book club!
Interested in ciphers and codes? LEARN CRYPTOGRAPHY can teach you everything from cryptanalysis to hash functions to encryption. Start with the Playfair Cipher and use it to pass notes to your friends, who will never be able to figure out what they say and will probably never speak to you again but totally worth it.
If you happen to find yourself in New York City or Las Vegas, head for a mission at the STILETTO SPY SCHOOL! Inspired by bad babes like Emma Peel, Lara Croft, Charlie’s Angels, and Sidney Bristow, you can turn yourself into an IRL Bond Girl with skills like hand-to-hand combat, knife fighting, awareness training, stunt driving, dancing, even poker and pool—all from Special Forces and military-trained instructors.
All the best spies know more than one language. Teach yourself a new one for free with DUOLINGO, which currently offers lessons online in a ton of different European languages, as well as a smartphone app for studying on the go.
Want to learn skills like Escape and Evasion, Urban Survival, or Off-Grid Medical Care? Sign up for a class at ONPOINT TACTICAL, offered all across America. Though the company originally catered to the military and law enforcement organizations, they now have courses for civilians looking to up their survival skills game. That’s how you know it’s legit.
Exploration and Adventure
If you dream about captaining your own awesome ship in space and encountering a bunch of friendly aliens, WOMEN@NASA can help you do the next best thing. They have programs for gals of all ages (like NASA SISTER and Aspire to Inspire) that encourage all ladies to get involved in SPACE.
If you want to really get your science explorer on, you should join an EXXPEDITION, a series of all-women voyages focusing on gathering data about the harmful effects of toxins in our environment. Heading everywhere from Norway to the Amazon, Exxpeditions need women with all different kinds of skills, from sailors to cooks to scientists to filmmakers.
This graduate scholarship from the NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION is all about encouraging women and other marginalized groups to pursue independent scholarship in oceanography, marine biology, and maritime archaeology (which sounds like the actual best career). The scholarship can land you way over a living wage, plus a paid collaboration at an NOAA facility.
BROWN GIRLS FLY is a “melanin-infused perspective on travel” that’s all about what it’s like to be a woman while “traveling Brown.” Founded by sisters Chelle and Crystal Roberts, the site hosts women of color writing all kinds of interesting articles on being ex-pats in different countries, what it’s like to travel alone as a Black woman in China, and even what to pack before traveling while being not white.
The SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAM sends high school students to Department of Navy labs all over the United States for the chance to learn more about their STEM field of choice. Working with badasses from the Navy and getting to travel while still in high school, all for the sake of higher learning in science? Sign me up.