Girl Scout Volunteer Dr. Cynthia Barnett named a Woman of Innovation
April 2, 2013
Dr. Cynthia Barnett, a teacher, guidance counselor, and assistant principal in the Norwalk Public School system for 30 years and a Girl Scout volunteer, was recently awarded a 2013 Woman of Innovation Award by the Connecticut Technology Council on March 19.
Barnett was honored in the category of “Community Innovation and Leadership,” for her creation and support of Saturday Academy, Amazing Girls Science, and several all-girl robotics teams, influencing hundreds of girls in their decisions to continue in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. She was nominated by Ellyn Savard, Girl Scouts of Connecticut’s Program Initiatives Manager.
“My mission and passion is being a vehicle to ignite the spark in girls for STEM at an early age,” Barnett said.
In 1996, Dr. Barnett founded Saturday Academy Inc., a non-profit public charity with the goal to design and deliver accessible, innovative programs that empower girls. As a vocal advocate for STEM education, Dr. Barnett was determined to help young girls discover the fun, excitement and rewards in these fields.
The Amazing Girls Science program was developed from Dr. Barnett’s Saturday Academy, offering conferences for girls in grades 5-10 on a college campus. Girls are exposed to STEM activities and careers, including DNA Tracking, CSI Forensics, Marine Biology, and Astronomy, among others. These conferences motivated girls to pursue education and career opportunities in STEM fields, and helped girls build self-confidence, self-esteem, and problem-solving skills.
Dr. Barnett expanded her Saturday Academy to include a robotics program. She currently mentors three robotics teams and works with her girls to create and deliver robotics presentations to other organizations with the goal of exposing girls to technology and increasing robotics participation in their community. One of Cynthia’s three teams is a partnership with Girl Scouts of Connecticut as part of the organization’s STEM initiative. These efforts have successfully paid off in 10 new teams in the Norwalk area.
“Dr. Cynthia Barnett is a valued volunteer who brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and leadership to our girls,” said Mary Barneby, CEO, Girl Scouts of Connecticut. “Dr. Barnett has showcased a tireless effort and dedication to ensuring all girls are exposed to the STEM fields, not just as activities, but as possible career paths. She is a true example of courage, confidence, and character, and a woman who is making the world a better place with each young mind she reaches with science. We are delighted that she has been recognized by the Connecticut Technology Council as a Woman of Innovation.”
The Connecticut Technology Council is a statewide association of technology oriented companies and institutions, providing leadership in areas of policy advocacy, community building and assistance for growing companies. For more information, visit http://www.ct.org/.