Inspiring girls to pursue 21st-century science, math, engineering, and tech skills
In the 21st century, the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are critical. At Foxcroft, they are also fun. You might learn physics by constructing a potato cannon or improve your computer skills by creating an arcade game. Put on a hard hat and see how engineers, architects, and contractors build a new dorm. Program a drone in our STEM club.
Our STEM teachers are passionate about their subjects. They are also inspiring role models — five of our seven STEM teachers are women and one of them has a doctorate. They bring energy and enthusiasm to your class with real-life applications, inquiry-based assignments, hands-on projects, and cool technology tools. These workshops, internships, seminars and presentations with STEM professionals will open your mind.
Research shows that attending an all-girls school affects students’ interest and success in STEM fields. Here’s a look at graduates of independent girls’ schools as compared to girls who graduated from coed independent schools:
List of 4 items.
more likely to major in math, science & technology
more likely to consider engineering careers
more confident in their computer ability
more confident in their mathematical ability
At Foxcroft, more than 30 percent of recent graduates chose STEM fields as their majors in college.
– Betsy ’21
“I was interested in STEM before coming to Foxcroft, and my interest has only grown with all the opportunities available here.”
– Gabriela ’15, 2nd year Computer Science major
“At Foxcroft, I learned to speak my mind and value my own voice, giving me the strength to pursue an interest in a primarily male-dominated field.”
– Carli ’16
“This extraordinary opportunity [to design the new school store’s counter] is something I will remember all my life. I never knew I had an interest in designing, but after this experience, I may consider pursuing this passion.”
This past summer, I attended an Introduction to Cybersecurity camp through Northern Virginia Community College. During this camp, I met Amber Schroader, CEO and founder of Paraben Corporation. I wanted her to come to Foxcroft to speak, and on Thursday, November 29, she visited as part of our STEM Presents speaker series.
On Monday, October 15, students in the American Experience, American Literature, AP US History, Biology, and US History classes traveled to Mount Vernon for a cross-disciplinary field trip. The day spent touring George Washington's home yielded valuable lessons that tied back to English, science, and history classroom topics. Enjoy a report from Siena W. '21 below:
Though I had to wake up early for the 7:30am departure, my time at Mount Vernon was more than memorable. There, I was able to experience first-hand the extravagant colonial lifestyle of one of our founding fathers, George Washington. At Mount Vernon, my friends and I explored all of the different aspects seen in a functioning and profitable property in the late 1700’s. Throughout the trip, I was able to further my understanding of day-to-day colonial culture and the lifestyles of many members of the thriving community. Though we discussed this in class, I was not able to truly comprehend how necessary each person’s role was on Washington’s estate until I witnessed how vast his land was.
Explorations in Engineering is a Science elective offered in partnership with Purdue University's EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) High School program in which students work with area nonprofits to research, design, and make something that will fill a need or solve a problem for the organization. In the process, the students learn the engineering cycle and gain experience working collaboratively, interacting with “clients,” problem solving, public speaking, and — sometimes — using power tools!
This spring, the 11 students in the class took on two projects for a brand new partner, the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) in Front Royal, and one for an existing friend, Sprout Therapeutic Riding, located in Aldie. They recently presented their project solutions to their classmates and a variety of interested faculty members. Read More to learn about the individual projects.
On Tuesday evening, the Office of College Counseling hosted a special STEM Majors Panel discussion that welcomed admission representatives from three colleges that are experiencing growth in the numbers of females entering those majors. Nearly a dozen Foxcroft girls took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions and hear directly from these professionals about the variety of STEM opportunities at their campuses and the considerations they explore during the admission process.
Rocketry Team concludes months of hard work with flight launch
Ten students have spent almost every Tuesday evening since December meeting in The Innovation Lab to learn everything they could about designing and building model rockets as well as the very complicated rules and specifications of the Team American Rocketry Challenge (TARC). Last Saturday, they took their rockets to The Plains for their first and only official launch (the deadline for qualifying launches was Monday). Here’s freshman Jennifer C.’s report on the experience:
When, during Morning Meeting that Wednesday morning, Dr. Evans announced the possibility of a Team American Rocketry Challenge (TARC) team, I was apprehensive. I wanted to join, but my most successful previous attempt at engineering had been a hydraulic arm in 7th grade. (I stepped on one of the tubes, breaking it 30 minutes before presenting it.) Yet, against my better judgment, I signed up. And it was great.
A native Pennsylvanian, Kristine has taught and served as a teacher leader in a variety of school settings. Her passion for teaching developed as a student at Middlebury College, where she earned her B.A. in Physics with Honors and received the department's Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. It was there, as one of only a handful of female physics majors, that she became committed to making physics and STEM accessible to all. Kristine has also earned an M.A. in Teaching from Duke University, where she was a Robert Noyce Teaching Fellow, and an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston.
Kristine taught physics and math in public schools in Brooklyn, NY, for six years before she moved to Houston, TX, in 2013 to serve as the Upper School Physics Teacher and Science Department Chair at the Emery/Weiner School. Kristine also advised the school’s team in the Shalheveth Freier International Physics Tournament, an engineering design program run by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. Traveling to Israel with groups of students to compete in the tournament was a definite highlight of her time at Emery.
She joined the Foxcroft faculty as the Director of STEM Education in 2018, bringing a collaborative, mission-driven approach to leadership and a student-centered, inquiry-based philosophy of teaching.
Interested in the intersection of music and physics, Kristine has taught several summer courses on the science of music. She is an avid musician, and enjoys yoga and cycling in her spare time.
Lindsey Bowser graduated from William Smith College, in 2002, with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. She continued her education at the University of Virginia, where she studied sedimentation processes in the main drinking water reservoir for Charlottesville, VA, and earned a Master of Science degree in Environmental Science.
Lindsey joined the Foxcroft faculty in Fall 2007 and teaches Chemistry and AP Chemistry, as well as electives in Physical Geology and Environmental Science. A lifelong student, she returned to school for a Master of Science in Science Education at Montana State University, which she completed in 2011.
Lindsey, who also serves as Resident Relief in Applegate Dormitory and coaches JV basketball, lives on campus with her three cat “children.”
Meghen Tuttle came to Foxcroft from her home city of Los Angeles, CA. She received her Bachelor’s degree in 2002 from the University of Southern California in classical voice with a minor in neuroscience. While continuing her professional work as a classical musician, Meghen pursued her Ph.D. in neuroscience (2014) under the direction of Drs. Antonio and Hanna Damasio. Her doctoral studies at USC's Brain and Creativity Institute focused on the broad field of music neuroscience, culminating with her dissertation, entitled “Majoring in Music: How Conservatory Training Changes the Brain.”
It was during graduate school that Meghen found her passion for teaching, through 12 semesters of teaching labs and discussion sections for USC undergraduates, many guest lectures, and work as an education consultant. Meghen firmly believes that, while primary research is vital, communicating the relevancy of that research, both in an educational setting and outside of the ivory tower of academia, is absolutely critical, if one hopes to make a difference in society.
Meghen joined the Foxcroft faculty in August 2014 and teaches Biology, AP Biology, and several electives in Neuroscience. She lives in Reynolds Dormitory, where she serves as Resident Relief, with her husband, Jay Tuttle, and their dog, King Louis XIV.
Katie Hergenreder will put her skills in physics, mathematics, computer programming and robotics to good use as Foxcroft’s newest physics teacher. Miss Hergenreder earned her Bachelor’s in physics from the University of Maryland and gained practical experience as a private tutor and teaching assistant. She also served as a radiation oncology research assistant at the University of Maryland Medical Center. In addition to being a Tae Kwon Do black belt, Miss Hergenreder was a member of the University of Maryland's Equestrian Club as the Director of Lessons.
Katie lives on campus and has a lovable yellow-lab mix, Khaki. She enjoys reading and riding her pony, Charlie, off campus.
Our newest member of the STEM department is Anne Szymendera. Anne earned a B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Spanish Language from the University of Virginia this past December. She has taught in summer programs and most recently spent the past semester teaching math and living on the dorm at St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, VA.
A graduate of St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, VA, Anne knows firsthand the benefits of an all-girls education. Her interests include softball and playing the saxophone!
Dan Hales, the newest member of our STEM department, is a U.S. Navy Veteran who served as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive. A gifted linguistic who has studied four languages including Russian and Arabic, Mr. Hales earned an A.A. degree from the Arabic Defense Language Institute and a B.S. in Mathematics from Pennsylvania State University. He enjoys game design, chess, and cooking. Dan will live at Sage House.
An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.