WINS: Empowering Young Woman for the Future of E-STEM Programs and Careers

by Kimberly Godfrey

Women in Natural Sciences, also known as WINS, was founded at the Academy of Natural Sciences [of Drexel University] in 1982. The primary goal for the program is to expose

young women from Philadelphia to all things Natural Science, and to empower them with the tools to explore careers in the natural sciences. Since its founding in 1982, WINS has introduced hundreds of high school girls to future careers in science and other professions by providing hands-on science workshops, career and college exploration, and positive youth development.

This past summer, the WINS program has been very busy to say the least. We had 35 ladies working with scientists and educators in the museum and other collaborating organizations (including Drexel University and USDA), providing opportunities to explore careers in the sciences while gaining real-life, hands-on experiences. Some will continue in their positions throughout the school year.

Also this past summer, WINS Manager Betsy Payne, Vice President of Education Jacqueline Genovesi, and 5 WINS participants had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to Mongolia.

Here they met with 15 girls and various mentors currently developing a program in their country similar to WINS.

Sponsored by the American Alliance of Museums and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, our WINS girls traveled with Academy scientist Dr. Clyde Goulden to learn more about the effects of climate change on water quality and food.

WINS and ROOTS students participating in a water quality study of the Tuul River in Mongolia
WINS and ROOTS students participating in a water quality study of the Tuul River in Mongolia

In March of this past spring, 4 girls from Mongolia visited Philadelphia to learn the same. Our scientists have been studying the effects of climate change for 20 years, and our WINS girls got to see first-hand how climate change effects cultures across the globe.

Most recently, The WINS program received recognition from Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) in collaboration with the National American Association of Environmental Education. We were presented with their Innovative Education Award, which included a 2nd place award for $50,000 to continue providing opportunities that help prepare students for college and allow them to explore E-STEM careers.

To become a WINS girl, one must be nominated during the second semester of her 8th grade year by a school counselor, teacher, or other mentor. For more information, please contact WINS manger Betsy Payne at (215) 299-1064, or visit our website at


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