Meet Bridgette Ouimette
What interested you about working with the Center for the Advancement of Girls?
It was work that I was already doing as both a classroom teacher and department chair at my old school — exploring the latest research and best practices in girls’ education and how to implement that in classrooms. Recognizing that education has shifted to be more student-centered, I saw myself as more of a facilitator of experiences than an ultimate source for their learning, and have always been passionate about finding student resources. An opportunity to do that for an entire school community, really appealed to me.
What are you working on currently?
I oversaw a study with researchers from Cornell University that studied leadership development in our Lower School girls. I have also helped facilitate the placement of the three student teachers we have from Bryn Mawr College. Currently, I am overseeing the development of partnerships with Villanova’s College of Engineering and its Gender and Women’s Studies program, Villanova Widger School of Law’s CSE Institute, Philadelphia High School for Girls, the Wistar Institute, and Moore College of Art and Design. I am also leading a research initiative focused on the impact of girls’ participation in athletics as it relates to the development of leadership skills.
What is the role of a research and strategic partnerships director?
A research and strategic partnerships director can find opportunities that students and faculty might lack, but do not have the time to pursue on their own. Research shows that community-based partnerships are especially valuable to young women — both to enhance exposure to professionals who may serve as mentors, and to learn about what possibilities exist for women, especially in fields in which women are traditionally underrepresented.
What is it about the Center for the Advancement of Girls' work that speaks to you?
Part of our charge is translating research into inspiration and action that creates the most advantageous environment for girls to thrive. I find this so critical because often young women are not set up to be successful. It is important to me to help create the ideal conditions so each of our girls can reach their full potential. I want to understand what is best for girls and I approach all research initiatives and prospective partnerships with the question in my mind “is this best for her?” Again, I think every child deserves to have an adult who is asking that on her behalf.
What about this work excites you?
I love being intentional about how to best educate girls, and I’m proud that everything we do is rooted in research about what’s best for our students. Too often, education is based on what is best for the policy-makers or adults involved. Agnes Irwin is truly student-centered and seeks to find what is best for girls. I think most of us wish we had adults who were advocating for us when we were students, and I strive to be the adult that I needed when I was growing up.
Teaches: Global Health and the Girl Child and Director of Research and Strategic Partnerships
Years at AIS: 2
Previous teaching experience: AP Government, AP Psychology, Department Chair
I love being intentional about how to best educate girls. Agnes Irwin is truly student-centered and seeks to find what is best for girls. I strive to be the adult that advocates for students.