Karen Peterson - National Girls Collaborative Project
Karen Peterson, M.Ed., is the Chief Executive Officer of the EdLab Group and has served for more than twenty years in the education system as classroom teacher, university instructor, program director, and researcher. She is the Principal Investigator for the National Girls Collaborative Project, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to increase the capacity of girl-serving STEM organizations via a strategic collaboration model. She is also Principal Investigator for SciGirls and the Computer Science Collaboration Project, which all address gender, racial, and socioeconomic underrepresentation in STEM.
How is your organization innovating to promote STEM?
The EdLab Group is a dynamic organization dedicated to educational innovation, developing and implementing programs and projects that create meaningful and widespread impact. We deliver programs statewide, regionally, nationally and internationally. Our staff has expertise in managing and scaling up large projects that include professional development for educators, informal educational experiences for youth, and exemplary practice dissemination for practitioners. EdLab staff have collaboration expertise to improve the organizational effectiveness and reach of programs dedicated to expanding opportunities in STEM and digital inclusion. We enable professionals across projects and communities to generate creative solutions and strategies that maximize benefit beyond that which one project or community could accomplish. EdLab Group is unique in using collaboration as a catalyst for organizational capacity building, educator professional development, and improving access to STEM for underrepresented groups.
We created and manage the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) which uses a unique collaboration model to increase the quality of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programming and strengthen the capacity of STEM practitioners through dissemination of research-based training and strategies, leveraging existing resources, and facilitating collaboration among its constituents. The result of this model is a national organization that has become more powerful and effective as it has been replicated in 36 states, serving thousands of practitioners who in turn, serve more than 5 million girls across the United States.
The NGCP model implements creative strategies to reach diverse groups. By reaching practitioners and organizations who serve underrepresented girls, collaborating with K-12 school counselors, and strengthening the capacity of Regional Collaboratives to implement and sustain the model, the project adds knowledge to the field about effective engagement and outreach strategies for underrepresented girls in STEM, enhancing the effectiveness and sustainability of girl-serving organizations, and collaborations between school counselors and STEM practitioners. The NGCP’s collaborative model transforms the way practitioners and educators work to advance girls participation in STEM.