BlueJeans Blog

Girlstart Increases STEM Learning with BlueJeans Video Conferencing

There is a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) crisis in America. The nation already doesn’t have enough well-prepared STEM workers, but the future isn’t looking much better. As a whole, children in the US lag behind students in other countries in the areas of science and math.

We also know that we don’t have enough diversity in the STEM field. According to Tamara Hudgins, Executive Director at Girlstart, 100% of girls in America are underserved in STEM, and the recent PISA report evidences a persistent gender gap. Girls are at risk of not opting in to STEM electives, majors, and careers; that threat increases if a child is nonwhite or from a low socioeconomic background.

Girlstart, a non-profit aspiring to be the national leader in designing and implementing innovative, high quality informal STEM education programs that inspire girls to transform our world, has been building education programs focused on increasing  interest and engagement in STEM since 1997. Through its comprehensive programming, Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for K-12 girls. Their core programs foster STEM skills development and an understanding of the importance of STEM as a way to solve the world’s major problems, as well as an interest in STEM electives, majors, and careers.

Before partnering with BlueJeans, Girlstart hosted teacher trainings and after-school activities with a complicated audio-conferencing system that was ineffective for knowledge sharing with program constituents. After implementing BlueJeans Meetings and Rooms for their teams across three states, Girlstart’s success metrics and user satisfaction has made cloud-based video conferencing a part of their daily classroom collaboration.

Girlstart’s enrollment continues to increase with 28 districts across Texas, Massachusetts and California. As a non-profit organization with finite resources and no devoted IT staff, an easy-to-use solution was needed to keep up with their growing student body. Hudgins says they turned to BlueJeans as spatial and geographic limitations warranted a virtual alternative. “Our teacher training and board meetings became far more efficient with BlueJeans because all participants

could quickly join from anywhere.” The all-in-one video collaboration software offered Girlstart a predictable monthly cost instead of fluctuating audio charges incurred based on participant volume and call duration.

Hudgins says BlueJeans’ consistency has been a game changer for administrators and end users. “We use the recording and screen share features frequently and we’ve found just as much value in a virtual setting as we have in person.” Additionally, Hudgins says the budgetary impacts of video conferencing have been felt across the organization. “Since Girlstart carefully monitors all expenses, we’ve realized a significant reduction in travel costs as a result of remote learning and program development.”

As with the rest of the world, Grilstart has had to adjust and create new ways to provide Summer Camps to girls due to the global pandemic. They have decided to launch Summer Camp at Home, a program that will reach girls where they are, and will retain key elements of their work, albeit adapted to ensure the safety of all participants.

Their team is energized by the new opportunity to reach and meet girls no matter where they are. Girlstart already has evidence of the success of videoconferencing-based learning from pilots of virtual Girlstart ‘After’ School for the last few months. Girlstart girls have been doing hands-on and inquiry-based activities, led by their STEM CREW. Through this pilot alone, they’ve reached 276 girls.

With the new iteration of Girlstart Summer Camp, there will be morning and afternoon sessions every day with the STEM CREW via BlueJeans. In addition, there will be ‘breakout’ time for doing activities individually and/or in small breakout groups, and there will be guest speakers leading thought-provoking talks meant to educate and inspire. We’re so honored to help Girlstart power these great STEM initiatives for girls!  

To learn more about how Girstart turned to BlueJeans for their all-in-one video collaboration software which offered them a predictable, more efficient solution.  To learn more about how other customers are using BlueJeans, check out our Customers page. Plus, try out  BlueJeans for free today!