Lynn McBee: How All-girls Schools Are Changing Education

July 18 - Sheena Sharma
STEM
 

FIRST THOUGHT: If Memory Serves

Do you remember watching any movies or TV shows about high school? “That’s what it will be like,” you thought. “Maybe I’ll coordinate plaid ensembles with my bestie like in Clueless or be a cool, misunderstood outcast, like in Ghost World.” Everyone has their own experience, full of happy memories and embarrassing moments. Memory researchers say our adolescent years can provide the most vivid memories. So, whether it’s handily winning a debate championship or awkwardly and accidentally slamming your face into an open locker, girlfriend, that memory is here to stay!

WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 93 Percent

There were many times in my K-12 years that I wished I could banish the boys. There are some serious advantages to all-girls schooling, aside from getting rid of annoying spitballs. For instance, according to the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, 93 percent of graduates from all-girls schools say they’re granted better leadership opportunities than their peers at coed schools.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Lynn McBee, CEO of Young Women’s Preparatory Network

The high success rate of all-girls-school graduates can be attributed to women like Lynn McBee, a seventh-generation Texan. Her career began in the lauded industry of biochemistry, a field in which she worked as a consultant for 23 years. But it was the lack of women in her classes at the University of Texas that inspired Lynn’s passion to give young girls leadership opportunities. In 2014, she became CEO of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, which is a natural fit for her, considering her knack for leadership and her long history of giving back.

YWPN serves more than 4,600 students from sixth through 12th grade on seven campuses throughout the state of Texas. According to the network, 68 percent of its students come from economically disadvantaged environments, yet 100 percent of its graduates go to college. While plenty of other schools offer emotional support, many rely on a strong home life to counsel students. When that’s not there, and it so often is not, girls generally aren’t encouraged to look beyond their teen years.

That’s where YMPN excels because while emotional support is great, college costs money, y’all. In 2016, nearly 300 YWPN graduates received close to $42 million in scholarships, turning their college dreams into a reality.

Lynn’s philanthropic side has been huge for the YWPN. Her secret to fundraising doesn’t involve email or texting, but good old-fashioned relationship building. She prefers to talk with someone in person, discuss the project and her fundraising efforts, then see if working together is beneficial to both of them.

Fundraising has proven to be advantageous for the growth of the YWPN. With the help of donations and grants, the network is able to provide programs for girls in fields that have been overlooked for a long time, like STEM. Lynn and YWPN are transforming public education by breaking down racial, economic and gender barriers.

For girls who come from a not-so-strong financial background or healthy home environment, YWPN offers hope and the potential for a bright future. The next generation of young girls will no doubt be the smartest, most influential generation yet.

QUITE THE QUOTE

Former first lady Michelle Obama said it best when she said:

“If you educate a man, you educate an individual. But if you educate a woman, you educate a nation. When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at OnTheDotWoman.com and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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