Science Club for Girls Appoints Bonnie Bertolaet as Exec. Dir.

Bonnie Bertolaet
February 12, 2019 — Science Club for Girls a Cambridge nonprofit that provides free programs in science and engineering to girls, especially those from underrepresented groups, recently announced that Bonnie Bertolaet has been appointed executive director.

Bertolaet has been a board member of Science Club for Girls (SCFG) for the past two years, most recently serving as its chair. In that role, she was the major force behind the current strategic plan, the operational restructuring of SCFG, and a reinvigorated focus on development.

“Bonnie has worked tirelessly over the past two years, advocating with great skill, passion and creativity for the mission and vision of SCFG. We are indeed fortunate to have her take the lead of Science Club for Girls as we continue our efforts to improve access and gender equity in STEM, especially for girls underrepresented in STEM,” said co-chair board Mary McGowan.

In March 2017, Lonsdale Koester resigned as executive director of SCFG, and Martha M. Walz was appointed interim executive director. Last September, the organization announced it was undertaking a search for a permanent executive director.

SCFG described Bertolaet as "an accomplished scientist, with a broad background in education and training in scientific research and in STEM education."

Bertolaet said, “I am deeply committed to SCFG’s mission and have been moved by the profound impact we have on our girls. I look forward to serving this wonderful organization in my new capacity as executive director.”

Previously, she has worked in biotech and with educational organizations in public and private schools in a variety of roles, including working in STEM education and supporting an equity-based educational program focused on raising awareness of physical and intellectual disabilities for children in K-6th grade.

Bertolaet received her Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry from Amherst College and her Ph.D. in organic chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular biology from Harvard University. She trained as an National Institutes of Health post-doctoral fellow at the University of California San Diego and The Scripps Research Institute.

Founded in 1994, SCFG aims to "foster excitement, confidence, and literacy in STEM for girls," particularly from underrepresented communities, by providing free, experiential programs and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women mentors in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

SCFG noted that the organization, following development last year of a strategic plan, "is poised to grow its proven programs and to attempt new, innovative approaches," noting that fundraising momentum has accelerated, with important support from individuals, foundations, and corporations and from the City of Cambridge, as well as the parents and friends of our girls."

According to SCFG, 80% of the fastest growing jobs in the next decade requiring capabilities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and promoting interest and career awareness in these fields will help ensure the economic security for underrepresented groups and their communities.