It’s exciting to see the movement to support girls in STEM steadily growing across the country. Being a female founder from the Silicon Valley, I hope the emphasis on “STEM” one day becomes “STEEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship and Math).

By Andrea Lo (Co-Founder & CEO, Piggybackr)

I started my own company, Piggybackr, in late 2011 after wondering why young people were fundraising all the time, yet still using the most traditional offline methods to fund their initiatives (think candy bars and cookie dough) while the rest of the world was having great success building support online.

After spending a year researching the space and what was preventing youth from being successful online, we built Piggybackr to teach young people how to take action and help their teams and communities raise money in a more fun, instructional and effective way.

For the holiday giving season, we’ve highlighted five of our favorite projects by young women at the front lines of “STEEM.”

If you feel inspired by these young women, share their stories and consider supporting their initiatives!


Piggybackr Project #1 – Robotics Student Challenge


Emma Dumont is a high school student from Burbank, CA. She’s a member of her high school’s robotics team and plans to major in mechanical engineering so she can work in the medical field and develop robotic prosthesis. Emma proves to us that girls building stuff = super cool.

She is currently fundraising for $500 by December 31, 2012 to build the robot and compete in the robotics competition next year.


Piggybackr Project #2 – Teddy Bears For Boston Police To Give Kids

15 year-old Deryn Susman from Central Massachusetts started her own organization called NCCES Helps BOPS. She got the idea after learning that stuffed animals are scientifically proven to calm kids. Her organization raises money to put teddy bears in the hands of kids during stressful or traumatic times.

She is currently fundraising for $50 by January 1, 2013 to get the little teddy bears.


Piggybackr Project #3 – Rock n’ Roll Robotic


The Rock n’ Roll Robotics are a team of Girl Scouts participating in the FIRST Tech Challenge. They want to prove that they can do things that have been generally male-dominated like system design, computer programming, and electrical engineering. Here’s to Girl Scouts shattering stereotypes.

The team is currently fundraising for $10,000 by January 1, 2013 to build the robot and compete in the robotics competition next year.


Piggybackr Project #4 – UC Berkeley Society of Women in Science Dinner


Sarah is college student at UC Berkeley. She is President of Society of Women In Science (SWIS), a professional development club for undergraduate women in STEM. They are working to reverse the grim statistics of women in STEM by helping support members in their career aspirations.

Using Piggybackr, they have successfully fundraised for their annual networking dinner and even got with a corporate sponsor!


Piggybackr Project #5 – Empowering Special Needs Girls With Nail Polish!


12 year-old Alanna from Ohio got her start painting the nails of special needs girls at the hospital where her mom worked as a nurse. After seeing the tremendous impact she was making, Alanna started her own non-profit Polished Girlz to get more girls involved. Polished Girlz teams are now sprouting up around the country and proving that you’re never too young to give back!

She is currently fundraising for $10,000 by January 7th, 2013 to provide the Polished Girlz with needed nail supplies and help parents offset transportation costs to local hospitals and organizations serving children with special needs.

Here’s to our budding engineers, scientists, and founders!

Women 2.0 readers: What would you use Piggybackr for is the fundraising platform for empowering youth was around when you were a kid? Let us know in the comments.

About the guest blogger: Andrea Lo is Co-Founder and of Piggybackr, a fundraising platform that teaches young people how to raise money and connect with sponsors by using technology and business skills. She has been fundraising since she was 7 years-old. Andrea speaks on topics of youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, and fundraising. She is a recent graduate of the AngelPad accelerator, a mentorship program founded by Thomas Korte and other ex-Googlers to help startups. Follow her on Twitter at @andreatlo.