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NATIONAL INSTITUTE OCTOBER 20-23, 2010 WASHINGTON, DC. The Girls RISEnet 2010 Survey. An Environmental Scan of Girl-Friendly Programs and Exhibits in U.S. Science Museums and Institutions.

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the girls risenet 2010 survey


OCTOBER 20-23, 2010


The Girls RISEnet 2010 Survey

An Environmental Scan of

Girl-Friendly Programs and Exhibits in U.S. Science Museums and Institutions


Girls RISEnet intends to support a network of science museums and institutions across the United States with resources and activities that support girl-friendly and culturally competent programs and exhibits.

The Miami Science Museum is the lead agency for the Girls RISE (Raising Interest in Science and Engineering) Museum Network project. In collaboration with the Association of Science - Technology Centers (ASTC) and SECME, Inc.,


In 2010, Girls RISEnet’s lead evaluator Kathleen Tyner of The University of Texas at Austin worked with the project’s Research Advisory Panel and staff to develop an environmental scan questionnaire as a first-ever baseline measure of girl-friendly programs and exhibits in science museums and institutions throughout the United States.

The online questionnaire was directed to a convenience sample of 351 email addresses from the ASTC mailing list. A total of 105 institutions responded for a very high response rate of 33%.


Results of this baseline survey are reported by region, and will be used to increase the capacity of the RISEnet regional hub science museums to support girl-friendly and culturally-competent programming and exhibition across the United States.

Girls RISEnet is funded by the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering program of the National Science Foundation.


Museums and Science Institutions

with No Girl-Specific Programs or Exhibits (n=33)


Institutional and Individual Use of Social Networks

Does your institution maintain an official presence?

In your professional role, do you participate on these sponsored sites?


Sample Characteristics

  • East North Central regions reports the greatest number of girl-specific programs followed by North South Central and West South Central regions.
  • The museums/institutions report a wide range of youth through multiple programs. Saturday, summer and holiday programs serve the greatest number of students. After-school and internship programs, serve fewer than 50 per year.
  • The vast majority provide staff development for under 50 staff members each year.
  • The majority provide professional development for up to 250 K-12 teachers and other ISE educators per year.
support for girl specific programs
` Support for Girl-Specific Programs
  • Funding for girl-specific programs was most likely to come from the general operating budgets of the museums/institution (46%), followed by foundations (37%).
  • Funding was identified by 24% of respondents with no girl-specific programs as a barrier.
  • The majority reporting no girl-specific funding cited staff shortages as the major barrier (58%).
recruitment of minority girls
Recruitment of Minority Girls
  • 21% report no recruitment and 14% recruitment under 10%. 12% report that 75-100% of their programs recruit minority girls.
  • African-American girls (48%) and Latina/Hispanic girls (46%) are the most represented minority populations recruited
  • When asked to identify multiple barriers to participation, they identified transportation (65%), staff shortages (43%), and a need for stipends (40%).
  • The top barrier was identified as staff shortages for the respondents with girl-specific programs (20%)
exhibits educational programming
Exhibits & Educational Programming
  • 37% reported no exhibits designed to attract girls over the last 3 years.
  • The grade levels served by the majority of respondents were middle school (94%), elementary school (86%), and high school (63%).
  • Public schools, member outreach and community groups were the top 3 ways that respondents recruited girls.
  • The majority (85%) hope to provide STEM programming for all girls.
professional development
Professional Development
  • 78% do not offer staff development or professional development outside the institution for girl-specific programming.
  • The majority used local public schools and college and universities to help with recruitment of educators.
  • 59% offer their educational materials for free or for sale.
measuring impact
Measuring Impact
  • Staff conducted formal evaluation (24%) in some cases and 14% employed a third-party evaluator.
  • 65% do not formally state their recruitment and retention goals
  • 38% used anecdotal methods and 35% did not know their institutions’ methods for assessing the effectiveness of exhibits.
  • 74% used informal staff assessment to measure educational program effectiveness.
  • The majority (54%) used evaluation results for curriculum development.
  • 63% were not able to share their results.
visibility outreach
Visibility & Outreach
  • Respondents used a wide range of traditional media to inform audiences about programs and exhibits.
  • Online media was most often used to communication information about programs and exhibits.
  • The majority of institutions sponsored new media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
  • A small minority of respondents reported that they used the sites in their professional roles.
  • They were most likely to use Facebook, Webinars and ASTC Connects.