Girlstart Blog


Austin Branch of AAUW to Present Girlstart Intern Bonnie-Claire Duren with Miriam Tormollan Scholarship Today



Phil West, Orange Cone Agency


Girlstart intern Bonnie-Claire Duren, a STEM CREW (Creative, Resourceful, Empowered Women) member and University of Texas at Austin student who works in the Girlstart After School Program, will be awarded the Miriam Tormollan Scholarship by the Austin Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) at the Girlstart STEM Center on Friday.

According to Anita Knight, Austin AAUW President, STEM education is a priority for AAUW in Austin as well as nationally, and Tormollan, the former Crockett High School for who the award was named, worked with the Expanding Your Horizons program (the precursor to the Girls In STEM Conference, one of Girlstart’s annual STEM outreach programs connecting middle school students with Austin-area STEM professionals).

Speaking for Girlstart, Executive Director Tamara Hudgins noted, “We are grateful for AAUW's commitment to our programs, and now to our STEM CREW, by providing vital scholarship funds to a worthy student who also shares our common goals.”

About AAUW
The Austin Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) was established in 1923 and is a nationwide community of more than 150,000 members and supporters from all walks of life who advise, mentor, and support one another, including 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institution partners. We believe in the mission of AAUW to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

About the Miriam Tormollan Scholarship Fund
This fund was established in 2012 to honor Miriam Tormollan upon her death. The Tormollan family designated this memorial fund to be used to help young women in mathematics and science at The University of Texas at Austin as that was one of their mother’s passions. 

Miriam was an educator and activist for education of women and girls. She earned her BA ’43 and MA ‘50 in English from The University of Texas at Austin where she was selected for Phi Beta Kappa. Miriam was a teacher of advanced placement senior English at Crockett High School in Austin, Texas for more than 15 years and was recognized for her excellence by being selected twice as “Teacher of the Year.” 

In 1974 Miriam became a member of AAUW and was active at both local and state levels. In 2006 she was selected as Woman of the Year for AAUW Texas. For fifteen years she served as the central coordinator for AAUW Texas. Miriam represented AAUW in many capacities including: working with the Austin ISD to create a sexual harassment policy; testifying before the Public Education Committee of the Legislature; serving on the Coalition for Public Schools; mentoring in the Special School for Teenage Pregnant Girls; working with the Lone Star Girl Scout Council; helping with the “Expanding Your Horizons” program (precursor of Girlstart’s Girls In STEM Conferences).

Posted in Press Releases


Inner Space Cavern

Girlstart Staff Field Trip

Last month, Girlstart's staff took an afternoon to go exploring at Inner Space Cavern. Located in Georgetown, TX, Inner Space Cavern is one the best preserved caverns in Texas. Girlstart's staff took a walking tour of the caves to learn about the discovery and history of it all. We found out the difference between stalagmites and stactites, viewed the sednetary layers of rock, and saw the prehistoric historic fossils found inside.


It was exciting to see in real life some of the things taught in Girlstart's programs. In one of our After School lessons, girls simulate a river creating a canyon between layers of sand, clay and soil. They observe the different layers of the earth in their canyon after the erosion occurs, just like Girlstart's staff observed the different layers of Edward's limestone, shale, and cryptocrystalline quartz (aka flint or chert) inside the cave on our tour.

Posted in Girlstart


Hands-On Wednesday

Magnetic Magic

What is a magnet? How strong are they? Check out this cool experiment to test different magnets and see what cool magnetic magic  tricks you can do.

Posted in STEM Hands On


Change the Equation

We’re sharing a bit of good news. As you know, Girlstart is the only organization in the nation with two programs to independently gain Change the Equation’s ‘STEMWorks’ designation, which involved an intensive, external review process by WestEd to determine what organizations or programs are effectively solving the nation’s STEM gaps. (In total, STEMWorks features fewer than 40 programs.) Change the Equation (CTEq) is a national advocacy organization formed by the leaders of top CEOs that seek to promote STEM on a national level and identify best practices that might have national impact. After the ‘STEMWorks’ initial launch, CTEq was asked to further review programs that are not just good, but really good, and ready to scale on a national level. So we went through another rigorous WestEd evaluation.

I’m honored to share that Girlstart Summer Camp was selected as one of only 4 “exemplary” and “highly scalable” programs in America. Click here to read the release.

We are thankful to all of you who support our work, who send girls to Summer Camp, and who help share the word about Girlstart. We hope to share this good news widely! And be sure: we’re already looking forward to another amazing summer of STEM fun in 2014. After, of course, our fall and spring of STEM fun! Join us!

Tamara and all of us at Girlstart

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