spotlight on washingon, dc


NIH Women Scientists  joins Foundation SCA to host field trip for DC leadership program 

-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

Visitors from all over the world  take guided tours of NIH every month, but this July a group of high school students from the Program for Academic and Leadership Skills (PALS) explored not only the NIH campus but its daily world of research and science.  Drs. Patricia Becerra, Mary Frances Cotch, Myra Derbyshire and Maria Morasso of the NIH Women Scientist Advisors Committee (WSA) spearheaded this unique field trip.

Drs. Myra Derbyshire, Maria Morasso and Patricia Becerra of NIH Women Scientist Advisors Committee

“The NIH Women Scientist Advisors Committee wanted to develop an outreach initiative to introduce high school girls to NIH,” explained Becerra.  “We approached the Foundation for Social and Cultural Advancement, which led us to develop a field trip experience for teenage girls participating in its Washington, D.C. Program for Academic and Leadership Skills.”

Foundation SCA is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that partners with local institutions around the world to help girls and women live with dignity and build brighter futures for themselves, their families, and their communities through its unique, integral approach to development.  For the past three years, Foundation SCA has partnered with PALS’ umbrella organization, the Youth Leadership Foundation, which serves disadvantaged youth in D.C. by boosting academic performance while developing character and strong morals.

The field trip, created specifically for PALS, was an incredible opportunity for the young women.

Cotch explained, “In putting together the field trip, we wanted to expose the girls to a variety of activities to give them a broad perspective of NIH’s mission in science and health and to make it a fun, memorable experience for them.”

PALS high school students donned scrubs and entered several labs during their unique tour of NIH, a joint initiative of Foundation SCA and NIH WSA.

The students were welcomed by Cotch and Derbyshire, then given an overview of NIH, the health and medical research being done, and the wide array of non-science work within the institutes by Sheria Washington.   On their tour, the students met several scientists, including Drs. Jessica Bermudez and Gail Seabold, who spoke to them about their own background, offered education and career advice and described their research.

They also enjoyed an introduction to genetics with a hands-on exercise extracting DNA from strawberries with Dr. Carla Easter.  Donned in scrubs, the students were able to enter labs and see mice firsthand with Julia Drake and Drs. James Pickle and Ginger Tansey.  The day ended with a tour of the Clinical Center with Tara Mowery.

“At the end of the field trip, the girls were amazed at the many career options at NIH,” said Cotch.

Every PALS student received a souvenir gift bag from WSA with science education information, health pamphlets and a useful Primer for Women’s Health.

L-R: Michelle Datiles (SCA), Shirley Anghel (PALS), Dr. Mary Frances Cotch (NIH WSA) with PALS high school students at the end of the tour of NIH specifically designed for the PALS Summer High School program.

In addition to these thoughtful keepsakes, hopefully this experience will encourage more than one of them to work hard and pursue a career in the health professions.  It definitely opened the door to the world of medicine and science for all of them.

In thanking their colleagues, Morasso and Derbyshire, WSA co-chairs, said, “The WSA is grateful to the NIH staff who volunteered their time and made the field trip possible.”

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June was full of action  opening with a great Happy Hour hosted by our newly created Foundation SCA Junior Board at a downtown DC restaurant, Lupe, on June 9.    See photos here of the fun evening, complete with old faithful supporters and newly found friends, a wonderful array of refreshments, and an auction to boot.   We hit our fundraising goal for the evening: thank you to all who came and supported the cause!  (Go to our facebook page here)

We also launched our first Annual Fund Appeal, reaching out to all our contacts for their commitment to the work of Foundation SCA around the world.

If you would like to contribute to our Annual Fund, you can donate online here or send it to us at:

Foundation SCA

1629 K Street, NW, Suite 300

Washington, DC 20006

This coincided with the release of our 2011 SUMMER NEWSLETTER.   If you would like to be added to our mailing list, please email and put “Please add me to your list” in the subject line.

The 2011 Summer Newsletter can be downloaded here as well: enjoy!

-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

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Shop and support SCA at the same time in BETHESDA, Saturday, May 21!

ten thousand villages (to print)

-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

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“International investment in women”

Great new article from the Council for Foreign Relations:

“The story of a young woman’s entrepreneurial success during the Taliban reign in Afghanistan is an argument for international investment in women, says CFR’s Gayle Tzemach Lemmon.”

We completely agree, which is why we are partnering with Las Gravileas, an outstanding training center outside Gautemala City, Guatemala, which gives women suffering from the disaster after Tropical Storm Agatha the training and confidence to launch their own small businesses in traditional craft.

Click here to see the project: GUATEMALA

To take a look at our programs worldwide, just click HERE.

-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

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the faces of foundation sca

-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

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keeping it global

Talk about having a global vision, literally.

What happens when you merge the tech revolution, a UN-esque platform, a 24/7 research team and every media available?

You get the newly launched Global Governance Monitor.

From the timeline to the history in brief, to the interactive map, the GGM will be a seriously useful resource, not only for people in the field but for the average citizen to stay informed and engaged in the ever-growing plethora of urgent world issues.

-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

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2011 programs at a glance

For our new one-pager, which gives an overview of Foundation SCA and our 2011 programs, please click here.

And for a quick “visit” around the world to each of our programs, just sit back and enjoy the show below!
-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

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We have two programs in Sub-Sahara, Wanjohi Farm in Kenya and Sorawell Professional Training Center for Women in Cameroon.   Glancing through CFR blogposts on Africa, this one caught my eye as it has to do with that region.  Especially in light of the revolutionary energy surging across that continent and beyond it, it makes an interesting read.

Council on Foreign Relations blog, March 3 post by Joseph Campbell
-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

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Education at the front lines

Education at the Front Lines

New UNESCO report to be released.
-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA

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mosaic = all of us trying to make a difference

“What one man can do is change the world & make it young again.”

Well, each of us wants to change the world…. at least for one person (!) but hopefully for many, many more.   And sometimes it’s just that one smile or that one hour to listen to someone pour their heart out, that makes the difference.  Other times, we want to do something greater, bigger…  but we forget that those random acts of kindness do add up to something greater than they’d be alone.

Photo © Foundation SCA 2010

That’s what this blog’s about: a mosaic.   Beautiful, small, powerful pieces coming together from many countries, creating one picture the world over.  It’s a few people here, a handful of people there, who start something but great.  That’s all you need because with those seeds well-sown, we have the making of a great harvest.   I’m Program Manager at Foundation SCA (Foundation for Social & Cultural Advancement) & this blog is basically a mosaic (yes, yet again) of all the colorful, interesting & moving issues related to the work I do.  But above all, it’s about people.

Basically, the foundation promotes women and girls, especially those who are under-privileged, by supporting locally-initiatedprograms (does “by the people, for the people” ring a bell?)focused specifically on the education and advancement of women.  It‘s an incredible mission, I think.

If you help one woman, you potentially help one family, then one community…and a whole country.  (Obvious?  Er…not to everyone, which is what we’re trying to change.)

Right now, we’re helping women and girls inCameroon,Kenya, Slovenia, Poland, Russia, Honduras,and two cities here in the US, Chicago and D.C. (We also helped Haiti.)

Interested in knowing what’s happening in those places & how we’re helping, or the current news & goings-on in the developing world?   Then keep your eye on this blog!

-Michelle Datiles, Foundation SCA


Photos © Foundation SCA 2010

Our new video!

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