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 coding a Sphero robot to move through a maze 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 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.
– Ianna ’24
“At Foxcroft, there are no limitations put on individual curiosity. In fact they provide numerous opportunities for students to pursue their passions and surround themselves with people who support them in that endeavor.”
– 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.”
–Betsy A. ’21, Computer Science major
“The support I received at Foxcroft was really what made me so sure I would major in computer science. I had so much determination and passion for programming that there was no class that could scare me away. I attribute that attitude to Foxcroft!”
Throughout the school year, we see many great examples of cross-disciplinary work on display in the halls of Schoolhouse. Tuesday, during Morning Meeting, Fine Arts Department Chair Julie Fisher and STEM teacher Dr. Meghen Tuttle highlighted the beautiful results of collaboration between two academic areas — fine arts and science — when they announced the winners of this year’s Science Photography Contest.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, a legendary oceanographer and ocean advocate who holds the record for the deepest walk on the sea floor, has been named the 2023 Alison Harrison Goodyear ’29 Fellow. Dr. Earle will speak to the community about her life experiences and advocacy on Thursday, March 23, at 7pm in the Engelhard Gymnasium of the Athletic/Student Center at Foxcroft.
Foxcroft is one of two schools in Virginia and only 64 in the world to earn the prestigious College Board AP Computer Science Female Diversity Awards for achieving high female representation in both AP Computer Science A (AP CSA) and AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) courses during the 2021-22 academic year.
Last Sunday, the Foxcroft Robotics team traveled to Herndon High School to participate in their first event of the season. Foxcroft competes in the FIRST Tech Challenge, which provides a framework for students to develop their design, building, and coding skills. Our team met three days a week during athletic practice time, and while their coaches, Mr. Northrup and Ms. Do, were present, the students worked independently to solve the challenges presented to them by the competition.
Foxcroft will host up to 32 teams of girls on Saturday, February 25, as they compete in the “Be Green” STEM Challenge. Designed for middle and high school students, the competition will see girls from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, participate in challenges around climate change mitigation to keep the global temperature increase to a minimum using their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math. Enjoy the video accompanying this article for a fun explanation of the premise and challenges!
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. She earned her M.Ed. from Vanderbilt Peabody College in the summer of 2021.
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.
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.
Rylee Simmons attended the University of Maryland, where she earned degrees in both of her passions: mathematics and dance. Before joining the Foxcroft faculty in 2020, she taught both subjects at New Hope Academy in Landover Hills, MD.
Rylee currently teaches PreCalculus and AP Calculus BC, though she has taught a variety of math classes in her time at Foxcroft. She also coaches dance and teaches the brand-new elective Fundamentals in Dance Technique. As the dance teacher, she has worked to provide opportunities for her students both to perform and to watch professional performances. Committed to her own technique, she spends much of each summer attending dance training workshops where she gathers new ideas and information that she can bring back home to Foxcroft.
James Sweeney grew up in Maryland, attended Coker University in South Carolina, where he studied mathematics and computer science, then continued his studies at the University of South Carolina, pursuing his Ph.D. in mathematics. After graduation, he taught at Coker for three years before coming to Foxcroft in 2021.
Dr. Sweeney teaches AP Calculus and Algebra II & Trigonometry, coaches soccer (a lifelong passion), and is a member of the dorm team in Reynolds, where he and his wife live with their two dogs. He's enthusiastically embraced the all-encompassing nature of living and working at Foxcroft!
Born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, Hazal Mohammed has been living in the United States since he was eight years old. While he calls Florida home, he has taught in South Carolina, Alabama, and now Virginia. During his seventeen years of teaching, he has taught in public, charter, and private schools.
When he is not teaching, he can probably be found at the nearest bowling alley. Bowling is a sport, and if you tell him otherwise, he will most likely sit you down and have a brief conversation extolling the many intricacies of said sport. Also in his downtime, he is most likely trying to justify buying another book for his collection even though he already has a sizable backlog. But he does read them all. Eventually.
Hazal Mohammed will be a dorm parent for Dillon this year, and is looking forward to getting to know the students better and learning all of the myriad traditions of Foxcroft. He's still slightly confused about the difference between a Fox and a Hound. But hopefully time will rectify that.
Sonny Capaccio comes to Foxcroft from his home state of Connecticut, after living, teaching, and performing there for the majority of his life. He is a Bard College alumnus, where he earned his B.A. in Music with a focus in classical vocal performance. Sonny also earned a concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies. Throughout college and beyond, he was an instructor and eventually center director of an extracurricular math learning center.
Here at Foxcroft, Sonny will be acting as the Music Coordinator and chorale Director, and joining the STEM Department as a math teacher. He is also a dorm parent in Stuart and a resident of Reynolds. In the uncommon occurrence that Sonny finds spare time, he loves to cook, play pool, and root for the Miami Dolphins.
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.