Women Rock Science
Schools Sponsored

Women Rock Science

September 1, 2020

Cranbrook Institute of Science’s annual Women Rock Science event celebrates women in STEAM, educates kids in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics

Sponsored by Cranbrook Institute of Science

As the world continues to navigate a new normal, Cranbrook Institute of Science is working to ensure that science education and outreach continues to be available for students across Michigan. Held annually, the Cranbrook Institute of Science Women Rock Science event is in its third year and has raised thousands of dollars to support the institute’s outreach efforts. This year’s event will be hosted virtually, emceed by Amy McClain, vice president, client and community relations director at PNC Bank, allowing guests from across the globe to attend, learn and give back. 

The virtual gala will take place Thursday, Oct. 1 at 7pm. Women Rock Science is a women-led fundraising event that aims to celebrate women in STEAM, and ignite curiosity in children in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics.

“Three years ago Cranbrook Institute of Science staff reached out to us about  a brand new event that would promote STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) activities within the Institute and to other schools that Cranbrook supports,” says Linzie Venegas, Women Who Rock Science co-chair.. “I was very intrigued with the idea of an event that celebrated women and their work in STEAM. Although [this year’s event] may be different due to the pandemic, I am still expecting a lot of energy, fun and another year of honoring some amazing women. In just three years, we have taken the event from raising $50,000 in year one to $200,000 this year in support of outreach programs.”

“This event is an incredible opportunity to support programs which can ignite student curiosity in the STEAM fields and hopefully inspire these young men and women to pursue careers in these areas of study,” says Women Rock Science co-chair, Adele Acheson. “Women Rock Science is not just a call to action, but a statement of fact. We are proud to highlight women who rock their STEAM fields as educators and leaders.”

Cranbrook Institute of Science Women Rock Science

Cranbrook Institute of Science Women Rock Science

Cranbrook Institute of Science Women Rock Science

Proceeds from the event will help bring more STEAM programming, delivered by Cranbrook Institute of Science, to PreK-12 students in underserved communities throughout metro Detroit, as well as Detroit, Pontiac and Flint. Organizers for this year’s event hope to raise $200,000 for the Institute’s ongoing Service to Others initiatives, both in-person and remotely.

“Women Rock Science works to advance education locally and throughout the state of Michigan, while emphasizing underserved communities,” says Women Rock Science co-chair Kelle Ilitch. “The outreach effort supported through Women Rock Science is hugely impactful for the participating students and teachers from Detroit, Flint, Pontiac and Hamtramck, as well as rural underserved areas around the state. It’s rewarding to see STEAM brought to life through hands-on learning for students who may not have such experiences otherwise and to see its progress toward bridging the achievement gap.”

This year’s virtual event will honor three women who are making an impact in Michigan, and across the country, in STEAM education. Honorees include: 

  • Outstanding Leader Award: Patti Poppe, president and CEO of CMS and Consumers Energy​: Poppe is committed to bringing STEAM education to underserved youth through philanthropic programs at the Consumers Energy Foundation. Through her passion for clean energy initiatives and enthusiasm for a healthy environment, she is an inspiration to young women interested in STEAM careers. 
  • Outstanding Educator Award: Rahiel Housey-Johnson, middle school teacher, Hamtramck Public Schools​: As an educator for more than 20 years who’s also involved with the Optimist Club of Downtown Detroit, Housey-Johnson strives to understand her students and encourages curiosity among all of them. She is devoted to providing youth with STEAM education and exposing them to science topics so that they can experience the natural world around them. 
  • Rock Star Award: Cathy Olkin, planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute and Cranbrook Schools alumna (1984)​: Through her work as the deputy project scientist on NASA’s New Horizons team and the deputy principal investigator for its Lucy mission, Olkin has demonstrated unparalleled personal achievement in her career. She is a role model for children and women who want to pursue a STEAM profession. 

“Now more than ever, it is so important for individuals, schools and communities to work together to support learning and offer tools to those communities that have fewer resources available to them,” says Women Rock Science co-chair Kim Reuss. “Women Rock Science is a program that does just that. I’m very proud to be a part of an inspiring team of leaders in the community that help promote expansion, connections and enrichment programs that are exciting and unique tools for STEAM learning.”

General admission tickets can be purchased for $100 or $250. The deadline to purchase tickets is September 30. Sponsorship packages are still available and range in price from $1,000 – $25,000. To purchase tickets and for more information about Women Rock Science please visit the Institute’s website​. This virtual gala is not only for women – men are welcome to attend. 

Women Rock Science is presented by the DTE Foundation as a Science Sponsor, with support from Engineering Sponsors Adele and Mike Acheson, Forevermark Diamonds, Ideal Group, PNC Bank,  and Media Sponsor WDET – 101.9-FM, along with Arts Sponsors Gretchen and Ethan Davidson, Kelle and Chris Ilitch, Marla and Cyrus Karimipour, Kim and Mark Reuss, and Joseé-Anne and Mark Wakefield.

Inspire exploration and recognize achievement. Get your tickets today! https://science.cranbrook.edu/women-rock-science

*Featured Image: Women Who Rock Science co-chairs Kim Reuss, Linzie Venegas, Kelle Ilitch and Adele Acheson

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