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 — 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.”
– Cathy McGehee, Head of School
“Our school is leading the way in STEM education for girls by encouraging our students in record numbers to participate in computer science.”
– 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.”
Run as a virtual event for the first time, Foxcroft’s 10th Annual STEM Challenge drew 48 middle school and 36 high school students from around the country and globe to compete for prizes on February 20. Designed for middle and high school girls, participants used their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math in challenges revolving around this year’s theme of “Code for Good.” This annual challenge showcases Foxcroft's innovative and appealing focus on the STEM fields and allows girls to develop collaborative skills working with others and gain confidence in fields so often dominated by boys.
By Betsy A. ’21, CyberPatriot Club Head and STEM Concentration student
As a part of Foxcroft’s STEM Week, Randi Kieffer spoke with students via Zoom on February 17. Ms. Kieffer is the Managing Vice President of Cyber Operations and Intelligence for Capital One Financial Corporation. She brings a vast array of skills to the table that she uses to manage the 24x7 Cyber Security Operations Center at Capital One. A diverse skill set is something Ms. Kieffer highlighted in her talk. Despite what one might think, communication and soft skills are still vital in STEM fields, especially in order to work up the corporate ladder. Ms. Kieffer spoke about how her high school activities helped to give her a strong foundation in the importance of teamwork and communication.
Foxcroft has been recognized as one of two schools in Virginia and only 56 in the world to earn the prestigious College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in both AP Computer Science A (AP CSA) and AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) courses during the 2019-20 academic year.
This is the third academic year in a row that the School has received an AP Female Diversity Award. The two prior Awards were for AP CSA during the 2018-19 academic year and AP CSP for the 2017-18 academic year.
On Saturday, December 12, Foxcroft’s CyberPatriot team competed in our second competition of the year. It looked a little different this time because instead of being physically distanced in the Library classroom, we were all on Zoom. CyberPatriot, a national cyberdefense competition run by the Air Force Association, modified its rules this year to allow teams to compete together in person or online. This was certainly a new challenge on top of our competition.
On November 15, the CyberPatriot team completed its first competition against teams from around the world. Improving from last year, we finished round one ahead of thousands of other teams, and earned 74 more points than last year, which is an amazing feat! The competitions are each six hours long, so we all gathered together on the weekends to puzzle through each of the three scenarios. The next round is during the Distance Learning period, but we are all ready to work with the challenge that this presents our team. The CyberPatriot team leaders are Betsy A. ’21 and Gracie S. ’21, and the members who participate in the challenge are Teagan S. ’21, Danielle P. ’23, and Helen V ’23.
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. 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 and an M.Ed. in Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston. She is currently pursuing her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy at Vanderbilt University's Peabody College of Education.
Prior to coming to Foxcroft, Kristine taught physics and math in public schools in Brooklyn, NY, for six years and served as the Upper School Physics Teacher and Science Department Chair at the Emery/Weiner School in Houston, TX, for five years. 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 currently sings with Voce Chamber Singers in Vienna, VA, and enjoys yoga and cooking in her spare time.
Lindsey Bowser graduated from William Smith College in 2002 with a B.S. 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 an M.S. in Environmental Science.
Lindsey joined the Foxcroft faculty in Fall 2007 and teaches Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and a variety of electives. A lifelong student, she returned to school for an M.S. in Science Education at Montana State University, which she completed in 2011.
Lindsey, who also serves on the Applegate Dorm team 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 a 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. In 2016, she added Wellness Education Coordinator to her portfolio and now also teaches the Freshman Wellness class; leads specialized Wellness seminars for New Girls, sophomores, juniors, and seniors; and identifies and brings in Wellness speakers for the community, among other things. Meghen organizes the annual Wellness Weekend and is constantly planning new Wellness offerings to further the development of this vibrant program.
She lives in Stuart Dormitory, where she serves as a dorm parent, with her husband Jay Tuttle, son Jack, and dog, King Louis XIV.
Katie Hergenreder worked as a private tutor, teaching assistant, and radiation oncology research assistant at the University of Maryland Medical Center before joining the Foxcroft faculty in 2016 to teach physics and math and run the Learning Center’s STEM Lab. She also teaches Animal Science and Equine Science as part of the Animal Science Concentration program which Katie developed and coordinates.
Katie’s STEM skills and interests include computer programming and robotics along with math and physics. She is also a Tae Kwon Do black belt and was a member of the University of Maryland's Equestrian Club, serving as the Director of Lessons.
Katie lives on campus, is a member of the Dillon Dorm team, and has a lovable yellow-lab mix dog named Khaki. She enjoys reading and riding her pony, Charlie, off campus.
Anne Szymendera earned a B.A. in Mathematics with a minor in Spanish Language from the University of Virginia. Before coming to Foxcroft in 2017, she taught in summer programs and at St. Margaret’s School in Tappahannock, VA. At Foxcroft, she teaches a variety of math courses, ranging from Geometry to AP Calculus BC, is a Dorm Parent in Orchard, and coaches softball.
A graduate of St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, VA, Anne knows firsthand the benefits of an all-girls education. Her interests include playing piano, doing art (when she has the time!), and spending time with her family and dogs.
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.