Encouraging girls to go into STEM fields is really important; studies show that female STEM high-school teachers and even online mentors increase the probability of female students following a STEM education. Moreover, any child benefits academically and psychologically from having positive role models in their life, especially when they were role models that they interacted with as opposed to celebrity role models. And the benefits don’t just extend to children, adults benefit from positive role models, too. Certainly I have benefited from strong female role models in my life, from high school art teachers, to undergraduate lecturers, to family (happy birthday, Mom!).
This past fall I started putting my money where my mouth was- I started mentoring an elementary school-aged girl in Bozeman, MT through the Thrive Child Advancement Project (CAP). So far, we have mostly been making art projects and talking about archaeology. But we have been talking about trying to learn the Java programming language together!
There are lots of opportunities to mentor kids, either through CAP programs, Big Brother/Big Sister, Girls and Boy Scouts, etc., just a quick internet search brings up dozens of local options. For less of a time commitment, you can also volunteer for community workshops, like the Girls for a Change summit in Bozeman or the Girls-n-Science in Billings.