Artemis is a five-week summer program in which its participants (rising ninth-grade girls) are exposed to the breadth of Computer Science. The girls learn by undertaking a range of educational and confidence-building activities. Further, the girls hear lectures from women scientists and other potential role models from academia and industry. Artemis is also a networking opportunity: the girls who participate befriend other girls their age who have an interest in the sciences. A key goal of the program is that each Artemis student should be able to picture herself as a scientist by the end of the summer.

An equally important goal of Artemis is to develop the skills of the program's coordinators. Female Brown undergraduates serve as coordinators each year. While their primary responsibilities are to design a curriculum and teach Computer Science, the coordinators are also empowered to make many of the decisions that are critical to running the program. They advertise Artemis, review applications and select participants, budget the enterprise and eventually hire their own successors. Through their participation in Artemis, the coordinators develop strong leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and ultimately serve Brown's local community in their capacity as social entrepreneurs.

This award supports Artemis---its past activities and two additions. First, as Artemis is in its 15th year, this project is assessing the impact of the program. The project is undertaking a longitudinal study of Artemis, using expert evaluators, to determine if Artemis girls and coordinators go on to pursue careers in the sciences at a higher rate than non-Artemis girls and coordinators. This evaluation is crucial to the long-term sustainability of Artemis, because it will enable us to discover the dimensions along which the program is successful, which will guarantee continued institutional commitment and facilitate future fundraising efforts. Second, the award is funding tentative steps to expand Artemis beyond Brown, beginning with Boston University. The Boston University Artemis program will be administered by the Learning Resource Network (LERNet), a center dedicated to promoting science, mathematics, and engineering among the pre-college population by offering a wide range of programs that engage K-12 students in STEM activities, expose them to current scientific research, and stimulate their interest in STEM disciplines.

Project Report

With support from the National Science Foundation, t?he Artemis Project, a five-week summer program for rising ninth grade girls, has completed its 17th successful summer! The greatest decrease in female participation in the sciences occurs just before girls enter high school. Artemis hopes to combat that statistic by showing girls that computer science can be fun and exciting, and that they are capable of great achievements in a male-dominated field. The Artemis project incorporates a wide variety of topics to show that computer science is anything but a narrow field. In the computer lab, the lessons are very hands-on, with many follow along tutorials and projects. The girls show off their creativity by creating a movie poster using Photoshop, and websites using HTML and CSS. The girls also learn programming through Scratch, a graphical and kid-friendly programming language developed by MIT. The girls program their own games and animations; many find this to be the highlight of their summer. After Scratch, the girls also learn Python, which is made easier by their understanding of programming concepts they learned using Scratch. Outside the computer lab, the girls are introduced to the topics of binary and boolean logic, sort and search algorithms, cryptography, and even complex topics in graph theory. The coordinators use a combination of handouts and interactive demonstrations to explain these topics and give the girls an understanding of the math that goes behind what theymake happen on the screen. In addition to intensive but interesting classes, the Artemis programs offer team-building activities, such as field trips to the Boston Museum of Science, the MIT museum and Media Lab, Microsoft, and United Skates of America. In the past, the girls have met female high school students interning at Microsoft, and were shown interactive robots at the MIT Media Lab. Additionally, the girls were given the opportunity to tour the lab where Scratch was developed. These field trips give the girls a first hand look at both the computer science industry and current research being done in computer science, and serve to further their interest in the sciences.Also between classes, guest speakers are invited to give presentations to the girls. Many university professors and their graduate students give presentations. Speakers from Google and Microsoft also present to the girls. The presentations cover a wide variety of topics, including what life is like for a woman in computer science, and advanced computer science research topics. Though the topics are varied, the overall message is: computer science is much more than just coding, and being a woman is not a disadvantage in the cyber world. After four weeks of taking classes, meeting professors and professionals, and going on field trips, the girls spend the final week working in pairs either doing more research on a topic that interests them, or exploring a topic there had not been enough time to cover, with the intent of presenting the products of their research to their parents and faculty. Past presentation topics have included the history of robotics, number theory, Watson, computers in medicine, cyber security, minimum-spanning trees, NP-hard problems, and cryptography. Each group is required to create a short PowerPoint that includes an overview of their chosen topic and why it is important. Both the faculty and parents are continually impressed by the quality of the presentations. Not only is Artemis a learning experience for the rising ninth grade girls that participate, it is also a tremendous learning experience for the coordinators. First and foremost, the opportunity to teach reinforces the coordinators' knowledge of computer science. Furthermore, creating the structure and curriculum for a five week camp can be a logistical challenge for undergraduates, but the biggest lessons are in effective communication. Teaching is often difficult thing, but perhaps even more so for Artemis, since the students often come from very disparate backgrounds. The coordinators have to make sure the lessons are interesting and informative, as well as engaging to both the faster and slower learners. Through the Artemis Project, the coordinators learn how to utilize resources around them, organize a classroom, and communicate information effectively. They also hone their skills at team work. They learn to work together and trust each other to do a good job, while respecting any differences in style. Overall, the Artemis project aims to increase the participation of women in computer science. The hope is that this one summer of excitement can impact the future career choices of both the girls and coordinators alike.

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