The RETTEW Charitable Foundation recently awarded a $5,000 grant to the STEM Sisters program at the North Museum of Nature and Science in Lancaster, Pa.

The STEM Sisters program focuses on female middle school and high school students in Lancaster County, spanning public, private, and homeschooled students. The program inspires, empowers, and ignites young women’s passion for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) by increasing community awareness and engagement, expanding career options, increasing student opportunities for experiential and informal learning, and promoting self-esteem. Aspects of the program in this school year include a career fair, group projects to build an exhibit, a middle school event with hands-on activities, and parent education sessions on career opportunities for the students.

The program is supported by the North Museum of Nature and Science, with a mission to inspire curiosity, discovery, and a lifelong appreciation of nature, science, and cultures through education. Part of the museum’s efforts include community outreach programs for the youth of Lancaster County focused on STEM education, since current projections predict more than 2.4 million STEM jobs will be vacant by 2020 without a qualified workforce. Research has demonstrated that girls’ interest in STEM fields begins to lag by 6th grade from lack of exposure and access. The STEM Sisters program aims to alleviate this issue and empower girls with knowledge and passion for the field.

“Supporting our local communities has long been a part of RETTEW’s purpose,” said Mark Lauriello, RETTEW’s president and CEO. “This foundation empowers employees to submit an application for support of a charitable cause, and work with our company’s philanthropy team to provide both funding and a hands-on impact to nonprofits making a difference.”

The RETTEW Charitable Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that RETTEW formed in 2011 to support charitable organizations in which the engineering and consulting firm’s employees are invested or involved.