Sandy Marshall is a paradigm-shifter, a glass-ceiling-breaker, a nonprofit executive-turned social entrepreneur. She joins several like-minded leaders in spearheading a surge of national, organizational and community-based campaigns to foster more and better opportunities for women and girls in STEM fields. Marshall’s energies are currently focused on Project Scientist, the Charlotte-based nonprofit she founded in 2012 that seeks to empower girls with a passion for science, engineering, technology and math. Marshall spoke with SVP about her SEED20 experience as well as current and upcoming opportunities for individuals and groups interested in supporting Project Scientist.
SVP: What did you get out of your participation in the SEED20 program in the way of volunteers and camp particiants?
SM: Parents in the audience signed up their daughters for camp. We even had one of the audience members go back to their kids’ school and petition to have Project Scientist added to their afterschool programming. Because of their persistence, we’re starting a year-round Project Scientist program in four Charlotte schools this fall!
SVP: That’s great! Did Project Scientist connect with any new donors through SEED20?
SM: We received donations from several people that attended, including sponsors for girls attending our camps this summer. Due to our participation in the event many doors have opened up for us in the Charlotte funding community. We have many potential funders doing site visits this summer and Bank of America is funding our Phase 2 camp for girls age 12-16.
Did you have any positive outcomes in the way of strengthening Project Scientist’s long-term goals?
SM: Yes! We had a meeting with one of the SEED20 judges who had an interest in helping us scale to another market. We’re applying for a grant and should be hearing back in November. Another judge has since become a mentor to me and helped with a lot of those questions around scaling. Additionally, just this week we met with another of our coaches from the program and a board member about scaling, figuring out our real cost and forecast for the next three years, and are working on putting that in a format to educate funders so they know what our needs are and what the future looks like for us. Our SEED20 coach is going to volunteer his time to help us package up our financials in a meaningful way.
SVP: What can those interested in learning about or helping with Project Scientist look out for right now?
SM: Registration is still open for our Summer Academy. Programming takes place at two locations, Trinity Episcopal School and Queens University of Charlotte. Students can register by the week, and registration remains open until all spots are filled. Details about all of our programs can be found on our website.