Once upon a time…
1940s-1960s: Mary Golden grows up exploring Palo Duro Canyon and learns to love science. Alas! She’s taught that girls can’t be scientists.
September 2005: Mary, now a science editor and rockhound, begins volunteering as a science mentor in her eldest granddaughter’s kindergarten classroom at Crest View Elementary School in Boulder, Colorado. Over the next three years, she brings other science and art mentors to do hands-on projects with children in grades K-2 and develops the format that leads to Cool Girls: being guided by the children’s interests in particular science and art areas.
May 2008: Cool Girls Science and Art Club is founded by a group of second-grade girls in Mary Cox’s second-grade class at Crest View with Mary Golden’s help. The group goes on weekly field trips during the summer with science mentors.
Ananya, Ella, Sionna, Ruth and Ashley–2008 founders
September 2008: Cool Girls Science and Art Club doubles in size and begins meeting after school in a Crest View classroom with the support of Family Resources, a joint project of the Boulder Valley School District and the City of Boulder that provides partial scholarships. Mary leads after-school girls’ groups and continues to bring mentors into classrooms during the school day.
January – March 2009: Cool Girls Science and Art Club holds its first public art show (topic: marine biology) and food drive for the Our Center at the Old Firehouse Art Center at 4th Avenue and Coffman in Longmont, Colorado. For more photos and the girls artists’ statements, please see our archives. Mary leads after-school girls’ groups and continues to bring mentors into classrooms during the school day.
March – May, 2009: Cools Girls Science and Art Club exhibits the girls’ paintings about marine biology in the National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Lab Art Gallery. News stories about the art show generate numerous invitations to expand to more schools. Cool Girls forms a board of advisors that includes scientists Peggy LeMone and Jielun Sun, and the director of science for the Boulder Valley School District, Samantha Messier. Cool Girls adds a pilot project at a private Montessori school. Mary leads after-school girls’ groups at two schools and continues to bring mentors into classrooms during the school day.September-December 2009: Cool Girls Science and Art Club adds a pilot group after school for girls and boys together at Crest View. Mary leads after-school girls’ groups and continues to bring mentors into classrooms during the school day.
January-May 2010: Cool Girls Science and Art Club offers three after-school groups for girls at Crest View and Mary continues to bring mentors into classrooms during the school day. Cool Girls parents and Mary form a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable corporation and begin to build a viable organization. Board of directors members include Karen Kehn, Annette Kissinger, Joelle Friedman, Tavie Wolman, Egbe Osamwonyi, Shannon Golden-Schubert (Lynch) and Mary Golden. Parents provide partial scholarships for children who need them. No one is turned away for financial reasons.
July 2010: Cool Girls receives a grant from a generous New Tech team to build a new website. Antoine Valot leads the project with help from Eliana Berlfein, Julie Ann Storr, Lisa Padgett and others.
September-December 2010: Cool Girls Science and Art Club offers two after-school groups for girls and focuses on developing a board of directors and a strategic plan. A private family foundation provides partial scholarships for girls to participate. Board of directors members and committee members include Mary, physicist Jeff Taylor, and parents Karen Kehn, Annette Kissinger, Shannon Golden-Schubert (Lynch), Egbe Osamwonyi, Janet Meyer, Laura Lee, and Michelle Christenson. The National Girls Collaborative Project awards a grant from the Noyce Foundation for Mary and Egbe Osamwonyi, a parent and board member, to participate in its first collaboration conference with 140 other STEM-for-girls organizations from around the country, as well as the first USA Science & Engineering Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC. Cool Girls begins to explore local, state, national and international collaborations and funding opportunities.
January 2011-Present: Cool Girls continues to offer its programs for girls at Crest View and other BVSD elementary schools, as well as for middle-school girls at Horizons K-8, Red Oak Park Community Center in Boulder, and occasional events for hundreds of children at Crest View and community celebrations such as Longmont’s Chinese New Year. Funding sources now include the Longmont Community Foundation and individual donors. Cool Girls prepares to expand, starting with Longmont.