The Reading Science Center has received a grant for $357,000 from the Giorgi Family Foundation to establish and coordinate a Girls-in-STEM Opportunities Program at the downtown Reading center.

The funds will be allocated over a three-year period and will be used to hire staff and develop programming to serve middle school age girls in Berks County, with a particular focus on underserved populations in the city of Reading.

The grant provides funds for a program and a volunteer coordinator; to create Girls-in-STEM content and curriculum;to recruit participants, community mentors, and volunteers; to provide internships for female students from local colleges and universities who are studying science; to create targeted partnerships with other STEM-focused organizations; and to create digital STEM resources for families and educators.

“We are incredibly grateful for this generous gift from the Giorgi Family Foundation,” said Jim Cinelli, founder of the Reading Science Center and Principal at environmental consulting firm Liberty Environmental.

“It will provide much-needed funding for middle school students to benefit from real-world STEM experiences and mentorships at a critical age in their development, when they are exploring interests and potential careers.”

The Reading Science Center Girls-in-STEM Opportunities program plan has a targeted start date of Spring 2021 with an initial cohort of 12 female middle school students, with a plan of doubling the number in the cohort annually.

Funded programming components will support the expansion of the Girls-in-STEM Opportunities Program. In line with the Reading Science Center’s vision, the program will contribute to the advancement of those who are underserved and underrepresented in the field of science in the greater Berks County region and empower women through education.

Located at 645 Penn Street in downtown Reading and inspired by similar local science centers across the country, the Reading Science Center opened its doors to the public in October 2020 and features more than 25 STEM-themed hands-on exhibits in a vibrant 7,000 square foot space.

The organization’s mission is to foster the love of science through exciting and experiential STEM education for the Greater Reading community, especially our youth. The Reading Science Center is a 501c3 nonprofit organization created by volunteers from many sectors in the Reading area coming together to provide young people with a creative and fun space to learn, explore and experiment.

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