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History of CSG

Coastal Studies for Girls is the result of a casual meeting at a friend’s house here in Maine. Pam Erickson, our Founder, and Edith Aronson, our Founding Board President, happened to sit together beside a campfire one evening and begin a conversation that would result in the reality of CSG. Pam had a broad and deep background in experiential education for girls and women, stemming from her many years in environmental and experiential centers nationwide. That night, as she described her idea, Edith offered to arrange for a travel grant so that Pam could visit several semester schools.

Pam understood that girls learn differently than boys, that they process information differently, mature earlier; that visual and verbal messages, images and influences in their lives tend to turn them away from the sciences, math, technology and engineering pursuits. Pam knew that there was a way to reach those girls. She understood that curious minds, strong characters and high aspirations were being left behind. For over ten years, Pam researched the best way to create a science and leadership school for high school girls and carefully laid the groundwork for CSG long before the school welcomed its first students.

Edith, an educator, was intrigued by Pam’s passion and vision. The combination of an immersive experience within the realm of science, coupled with a leadership curriculum that gave voice to strong young women, ignited the goal of a school unique and amazing. The two of them set out to make the vision a reality and change the model for experiential education.

Pam’s vision as Founder and Edith’s support as President of the Board of Trustees, created Coastal Studies for Girls, the first and only science and leadership semester school for girls in the United States.

The Little Yellow Farmhouse, on the 626 acres of conservation land of Wolfe’s Neck Farm, is our original schoolhouse, dormitory, dining hall and class/lab space. On Valentine’s Day of 2010, we welcomed the Pioneer Class. Since that time, ongoing semesters of girls from nearly 100 public, 28 independent and 21 charter schools from all over the United States (and two countries) have experienced a transformational semester on the Maine coast.

Under Pam’s leadership, a thirty-five-foot diameter yurt was added to the campus to accommodate the larger groups that gathered to hear what CSG was doing, to let parents experience some of the adventures their daughters were having, and to encourage the public to hear talks from women scientists about their career paths.

In 2016, after more than 12 years of dedicated stewardship, the Board of Trustees accepted, with regret, Pam’s resignation.

Since its inception, CSG has been leading the way in experiential education, teaching girls to embrace science, learn leadership skills, encourage wellness and speak with confidence from a solid knowledge base. As a member of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and The Semester School Network, as well as our local and regional efforts, we have established broad community accessibility and deep relationships with organizations that share CSG’s values and mission.

Coastal Studies for Girls has brought together a committed Board of Trustees, a talented faculty and energetic residential staff, all ensuring that the girls who attend CSG receive the best education and most affirming, transformative personal experience possible.

Immersed in a powerful combination of science and leadership education, CSG inspires girls and women to create joyful lives, vibrant communities and a more connected world.