GEMS Club 2Thanks to the Innovation Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia and the Moore Family Foundation, Nova Labs partnered recently with the Girls Excelling in Math & Science (GEMS) Club to host a popular hands-on program called “Take Apart Day.”

So…. What’s a Take Apart Day? Nova Lab volunteers collect non-functioning computers, scanners, and copiers to show the girls—and the larger Nova Lab community—what makes it all tick.

Being able to use tools safely is the first step.  It’s key to opening up these devices and learning about their mechanisms and how they work.

The goal is to inspire tinkering and to feed the girls’ natural curiosity, encouraging them to touch, try, and explore. And next time they find something broken at their house, they very well may be able to fix it!
The photos pictured here captured the PEARLS—a group hosted at Cornerstones (formerly Reston Interfaith), one of Reston/Herndon’s leading social service nonprofits providing, among many other things, after-school enrichment to students who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.

“What does the club name (PEARLS) mean?” we asked the girls.
  • Pride in ourselves
  • Encourage one another
  • Always do our best
  • Realize the importance of education
  • Serve our community.
“They loved Take Apart Day,” reported volunteer Sarah Newman. “On the bus ride home, all they talked about was when they’d come next time.”

Nova Labs is a community-based Makerspace in Reston, Virginia that was created in 2011 to empowering everyone to rediscover the joy of making things. By providing the space, resources and mentorship for innovation and creation, Nova Labs creates a model for disrupting STEM education to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, technologists, and entrepreneurs.

The GEMS Club was founded 20 years ago to support 3rd-8th grade girls to engage in all things STEM  (science, technology, engineering and math).