About Us

Girlstart's mission is to empower girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The world’s greatest challenges need new STEM ideas and insights. Half of the world’s potential ideamakers—women and girls—are discouraged from developing their ideas because of social bias or inequity. More girls with more ideas create more solutions.

Girlstart’s mission is to solve this.

We increase girls’ interest and engagement in STEM through innovative, nationally-recognized informal STEM education programs. By empowering more girls to continue STEM studies, we can help address our nation’s STEM workforce inequities and impact innovation and economic development in America and across the globe. To accomplish our mission, Girlstart develops and implements a range of innovative, research- and standards-based education and mentorship programs designed to promote girls’ early engagement and academic success in STEM, encourage girls' aspirations and persistence in STEM education and careers, and incubate a talented and diverse STEM workforce.

Founded in Austin, Texas, Girlstart is the only community-based informal STEM education nonprofit in the nation specifically dedicated to empowering and equipping girls in STEM through year-round STEM educational programming. Since 1997, Girlstart has served over 40,000 girls and 6,000 teachers and families with school-based programs, professional development for teachers, summer camps, STEM career conferences and expos, large-scale science events for families, and community STEM education outreach programs. Girlstart programs are open to girls K-16. We are focused on serving girls of minority backgrounds, girls who live in low-income or nonurban environments, and/or are considered at risk of academic failure by the Texas Education Agency.

Our goals are to:

  • Increase girls’ competency in conducting scientific investigations and critical thinking/reasoning.
  • Increase girls’ facility and mastery in STEM skills.
  • Increase girls’ confidence and interest in conducting STEM activities.
  • Increase girls’ the understanding that there are multiple applications of STEM in everyday life.
  • Increase girls’ awareness of STEM careers and interest in pursuing STEM electives, subjects, majors, and careers.

Girlstart cultivates a culture where risk is rewarded, curiosity is encouraged, and creativity is expected. As a result, Girlstart girls are connected, brave, and resilient. Girlstart makes girls more successful, and inspires them to take on the world’s greatest challenges. 

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Program Catalog



Board of Directors

The goal of Girlstart and its board is to provide strategies, resources and programs to increase the numbers of young women pursuing education and careers in science, math and engineering.

 

  • Dawn Anderson
  • Becky Austen, Chair
  • Wendy Benson
  • Bronwyn Blake, Secretary 
  • Janet Cinfio
  • Doug Hillary
  • Arcie Jordan
  • Rick Morales
  • Shantel Norman
  • Todd Penner, Treasurer
  • Arleene Porterfield
  • Sharon Reddehase
  • Michelle Roebuck
  • Randy Sabbagh
  • Sara Spivey, Vice Chair