Story of Saturday Academy
It was a sad day when the last of three daughters left for college. Dr. Barnett suddenly realized that she was going to have an empty nest. What was she going to do with the time that she used to take her daughter back and forth to various activities?
Lying in her bed one night a light bulb went off of how she could use her time to give back to the community. Test scores had just been published and showed that Black and Hispanic students were falling behind academically. She was appalled by this statistics and it suddenly dawned on her that with her experience in education, as a teacher, guidance counselor and administrator, she could use all her strengths and leadership skills to do something outside of the school day to make a difference.
Her burning desire to give back to her community and to help close the achievement gap gave birth to her non-profit organization Saturday Academy.
The early years included both boys and girls with a strong focus on science & technology. Since she believes that children learn best with the hands-on activities science & computers naturally allows, she put a heavy emphasis on ‘learning by doing.’
A research study by AAUW (American Association of University Women) called “Why so few women in Science, Technology, Engineering & math” prompted her to join the movement to empower girls in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) by seeking to ignite their interest and spark their enthusiasm while building core life skills of self-confidence, self-esteem, curiosity, problem solving and risk taking.
Dr. Barnett has become a STEAM champion and is passionate about bringing opportunities to young girls to blaze their own path in STEAM fields to get them ready to meet 21st Century challenges in the scientific and technological fields.
Saturday Academy was one of the programs featured in CBS TV program on their Martin Luther King “Fulfilling the Dream” program focusing on people in the community who give back. The Connecticut Technology Council has honored Dr. Barnett with its Community Innovation & Leadership Award.
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“Thank you for helping to empower girls to participate in male-dominated arenas.
I believe in women’s potential as innovators in all areas of science & technology.
The Amazing Girls Program empowers young women to become innovators through exposure to computer science and technology.
Our hands-on creative activities help girls build core life skills, including self-confidence, self-esteem, curiosity, problem-solving and positive risk-taking.”
~Dr. Cynthia Barnett
Founder, Amazing Girls Programs