Beyond GEMS, what types of other empowering out-of-school-time STEM programs and opportunities exist?
Getting girls engaged in interesting out-of-school time STEM learning opportunities has many benefits. STEM programs can spark ongoing curiosity and promote skill development. They can help girls see how far-reaching STEM is and build confidence. They also provide girls with a chance to connect with other girls who like STEM, creating a sense of community and sisterhood. The links below include both girls-only and coed programs and opportunities.
Girls’ STEM Programs
- The Connectory—showcases out-of-school time STEM opportunities such as afterschool clubs, summer camps, citizen science events, maker fairs, and one-day events
- Engineer Girl —a directory of university engineering programs for high schoolers
- Million Girls Moonshot—aims to prepare and inspire a million girls in STEM through afterschool and summer programs
- Expanding your Horizons—conferences and resources to expand girls’ interest in STEM
- Girls Inc.— empowers girls to be strong, smart, and bold; 1,500 sites in 350 cities with STEM programs like Eureka! and Operation SMART
- Girl Scouts—offers girls opportunities to get involved in lots of activities, with a particular emphasis on STEM
- Scientific Adventures for Girls in Oakland, CA—runs STEM programs for girls
- Science Club for Girls in Cambridge, MA—connects girls with high school mentors and college STEM majors
- Girlstart in Texas—empowers girls in STEM
- Spin (Stem Paths Innovation Network) Girls in Seattle, WA—builds leadership and STEM interest among girls of color
- uCodeGirl in North Dakota—enrichment programs and mentorship opportunities
- Smith Summer Science and Engineering Program—for exceptional students with a strong interest in science and engineering
Tips for Parents Looking for STEM Programs for their Girls
Spend some time exploring the links below with your girl to see if there’s an out-of-school program or event near you. If not, consider traveling to cultural institutions such as museums, zoos, or libraries to investigate STEM. To explore existing out-of-school time STEM opportunities by geographic location, check out The Connectory.
If there isn’t an out-of-school time STEM club or event for your daughter’s age group readily available to you locally, consider starting your own. This GEMS website offers lots of support for starting a GEMS Club–see the “GEMS Clubs” and “For Educators” tabs. In addition, there are lots of great program models in the links below.
Coed STEM Programs
- Pathways to Science—a listing of coed STEM programs and internships for K-8 and 9-12, many are free or offer scholarships
- Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK)—3-week summer program run by the National Society of Black Engineers for grades 3-5
- Imagine Science—a collaboration of Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., National 4-H Council, and YMCA USA to encourage kids underrepresented in STEM—check your local clubs for out-of-school time STEM classes
- FIRST LEGO League Robotics—robotics team competitions for grades PreK-8 centered around an annual theme
- Science Olympiad—a science competition involving 5,000 teams at 375 live and remote tournaments in all 50 states
- Upward Bound—prepares low-income and first-generation college-bound students for success in college and careers; run in 960 U.S. colleges—check for schools near you under the “awards” tab
- NASA Internships—programs for kids age 16 and older
- MIT Office of Engineering Outreach Programs—free programs for highly motivated middle and high school kids from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds
- Girls Who Code—programs for girls in grades 3-12, plus college; offers 2 free summer programs for high schoolers
- Technovation—Girls, mentors, and educators working together to learn and apply technology skills to real-world problems
- BridgeUp STEM Scholars—a 2-year program for girls and gender nonconforming youth in grades 9-11 that includes a computer science course, research internship, mentorship, and support community at Georgia Tech
- Techgirls—an Australian program reinforced by “Tech Girls are Superheroes” children’s books
- Code Like a Girl—an Australian group offering coding classes, internships, and events for girls
- Code.org—offers coding activities, courses, and resources like videos