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Museum of Discovery Receives Grant From Ernest and Anna Ritter Family Endowment for "Girls in STEM"

By Jane Marie Woodruff on 12/12/18, 3:35 PM

Little Rock, Ark (December 12, 2018) – The Museum of Discovery announced today that it has received a $10,000 grant from the Ernest and Anna Ritter Family Endowment for its “Girls in STEM” program, which seeks to encourage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and careers.  The Ritter grant will allow the Museum of Discovery to expand the program to serve more girls, ages 12-15, in Jonesboro free of charge in summer 2019.

 “Girls in STEM” gives participants a week-long opportunity to explore STEM careers with hands-on activities led by female STEM professionals, ultimately encouraging them to continue their STEM studies and even pursue STEM careers.  The Museum of Discovery has made this a priority as there continues to be a gender gap in STEM careers with men outnumbering women.   A 2016 study by the National Science Foundation found the greatest disparities occurring in engineering, computer science, and the physical sciences. 

For example:

  • 35.2% of chemists are women;
  • 11.1% of physicists and astronomers are women;
  • 33.8% of environmental engineers are women;
  • 22.7% of chemical engineers are women;
  • 17.5% of civil, architectural, and sanitary engineers are women;
  • 17.1% of industrial engineers are women;
  • 10.7% of electrical or computer hardware engineers are women; and
  • 7.9% of mechanical engineers are women.

“Girls in STEM” began at the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock in 2013.  In 2017, the program expanded to Jonesboro and returned in 2018.  The museum delivered the program for the first time in Blytheville and Stuttgart this year as well. In the summer of 2019, the museum will host an additional week of “Girls in STEM” in Jonesboro for past participants as well as a week for first-time participants.

“Thank you to the support of Ritter Communications, more girls in the Jonesboro area will be able to experience ‘Girls in STEM’ free of charge and be exposed to the STEM careers that they may someday fill,” says Shannon Jones, program director. “We truly believe that this program is helping create tomorrow’s female agricultural engineers, computer programmers, veterinarians and researchers.” 

The Ritter Family Endowment was created to assist the Ritter family and its subsidiaries – E. Ritter & Company, Ritter Communications and Ritter Agribusiness – in carrying out charitable activities. The mission of the Endowment is to support and strengthen the communities they serve by providing resources, leadership and necessary collaboration to meet local needs.

“Ritter is honored to work with ‘Girls in STEM’ so more students can participate in this worthwhile program,” said Susan Christian, Ritter Communications VP of Marketing and Ritter Endowment committee member. “We are so impressed with the strong curriculum the program offers to foster more interest in education and STEM careers.”

To learn more about participating in or supporting Girls in STEM, contact Shannon Jones at sjones@museumofdiscovery.org. 

About Museum of Discovery

Founded in 1927, Museum of Discovery is the state’s oldest museum.  Its mission is to ignite and fuel a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math through dynamic and interactive experiences.  To learn more, visit museumofdiscovery.org. 

About Ritter Communications

Ritter Communications, founded in Marked Tree, Arkansas and headquartered in Jonesboro, began providing local phone service in 1906. Today, Ritter serves 64 communities and more than 45,000 customers in northeast and north central Arkansas, southeast Missouri and west Tennessee with advanced voice and data services, TV, high speed Internet and hosted solutions typically found only in major metropolitan areas. Ritter invests heavily in the communities it serves by deploying proven, best in class infrastructure and technology while coupling it with a world-class customer focused experience. To stay connected, visit facebook.com/rittercommunications or rittercommunications.com.

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