Girlstart's mission is to increase girls’ interest and engagement in STEM through innovative, nationally-recognized informal STEM education programs.

Girlstart aspires to be the national leader in designing and implementing innovative, high quality informal STEM education programs that inspire girls to transform our world.

Through its comprehensive programming, Girlstart provides a year-round, intensive suite of STEM education programs for K-12 girls. Girlstart’s core programs foster STEM skills development, an understanding of the importance of STEM as a way to solve the world’s major problems, as well as an interest in STEM electives, majors, and careers:

     Girlstart After School
     Girlstart Summer Camp
     Girls in STEM Conference
     Community STEM Programming

View our current BY THE NUMBERS for the latest numbers served.

Recent program accomplishments include:

• A study by SEDL found that Girlstart’s After School program is the most 

robust STEM program for girls in the country. You can download the study here.

• In a report highlighting strong out-of-school time (OST) STEM programs across the nation, the Afterschool Alliance commended Girlstart’s Project IT Girl program results:
87% of the program participants entered a 4-year university, with 80% of them pursuing STEM majors and careers. The study is available here.

• Girlstart’s programs were highlighted extensively in a recent Booz Allen Hamilton study, conducted on behalf of NASA’s Summer of Innovation project. The study (download
here) identified 50 best practices in providing out-of-school time STEM programming to at-risk 4th-9th grade students. Girlstart was one of 13 organizations in the U.S. highlighted in the report and many of the best practices were informed by information shared by Girlstart.

• Girlstart was selected to participate in a Change the Equation pilot research and
evaluation study that will result in a national database of effective STEM education
programs. There are fewer than 100 STEM organizations in the U.S. who were asked
to participate in this pilot program—Girlstart is proud that we will have two of our core
programs featured by Change the Equation: Girlstart After School and Girlstart Summer

Why This Matters

• Over the past 10 years, growth in STEM jobs was 3x as fast as growth in non- STEM jobs.
STEM occupations are projected to grow by 17% through 2018, compared to 9.8% growth
for non-STEM occupations. STEM workers also command higher wages, earning 26%
more than their non-STEM counterparts. In addition, STEM workers are also less likely
to experience joblessness than their non-STEM counterparts, and if they do experience
joblessness, they are quicker to find a new job than a non-STEM professional.

• However, women’s share of the STEM workforce is only 24%, in contrast to their more
balanced share among the college-educated workforce (49%). This is owing to the fact that
women hold a disproportionately low share of STEM undergraduate degrees, particularly in
engineering disciplines.

• While most parents of K-12 students (93%) believe that STEM education should be a priority
in the U.S., only half (49%) think that it actually is a top priority for this country.

• Only 1 in 5 STEM college students feel that their K-12 education prepared them extremely
well for their college courses in STEM. 76% of parents feel that the U.S. is doing a poor job
of teaching STEM compared to other countries.

• Parents who feel that STEM should be a priority feel this way because they want to ensure
the U.S. remains competitive in the global marketplace (53%) and to produce the next
generation of innovators (51%); fewer say it’s to enable students to have well-paying (36%)
or fulfilling careers (30%).

• Nearly 4 in 5 STEM college students say they decided to study STEM in high school or
earlier, and parents say STEM interest begins at an early age (8.2 years). Female students
are more likely to say that they chose STEM to make a difference (49% vs 34% males).

• Parents and students overwhelmingly use the words ‘fun’, ‘interesting’ and ‘encourage’
when asked what can be done to help children become interested in STEM. “Expose
them at an early age, show them it is fun and interesting.” “Fun games—see how STEM is
actually applicable to real life.” “...a lot more hands on and visual learning ...”

Girlstart’s programs address the nation’s STEM crisis by building STEM skills at the same time we foster girls’ interest in STEM electives, majors, and careers.