Design Connect Create


"Technology companies like Texas Instruments need access to high performing STEM employees, especially women and minorities, to continue to grow and innovate. The physics camps are a proven way to increase the interest of young women in a STEM career by helping them feel confident about their ability to succeed and connect how they can make a difference in society through a technology profession."

-- Trisha Cunningham, Chief Citizenship Officer, Texas Instruments

Program Type

Hands on/Project-Based
Informal /Out of School
College Readiness

Target Audience





Grades 9 - 12

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

Design Create Connect (DCC) has helped increase the number of girls in the Dallas area who are taking and passing the AP Physics exam. At a time when only 20% of physics degrees go to women, the initiative is critical to helping the nation tap the talents of fully half its workforce.


Program Overview

The Design Connect Create is a two-week summer day camp that was created to prepare girls for their first high school physics course. The camp reinforces basic math skills, offers hands-on labs, provides close interaction with instructors, fosters an atmosphere of collaboration and teamwork, and exposes girls to STEM careers through female role models.

Students take field trips to a University and to a technology related company. To introduce students to STEM careers, time is allotted each day for a female speaker working in a STEM field. Two-week camps are taught by Physics teachers who have attended gender equity training. Camps are held in high school classrooms and can accommodate up to 60 girls who have taken the prerequisite courses for AP Physics.

The typical high school physics class can be intimidating for most girls, even for those who excel in math. The goal of Design Connect Create is to increase the number of females who take AP Physics classes and pass the AP Physics exam, because physics is a critical gateway class to the study of STEM majors in college. To close the gender gap in the STEM professions, we must increase the number of girls graduating from high school and entering college degree programs in STEM. 


How To Get Involved

Design Create Connect currently reaches about 100 high school women in the summer. Program leaders have developed a "replication kit" to expand the program to other cities, but they lack the funding to do so. It would cost roughly $30,000 to offer a camp for 30 young women in another city.

Funders and Partners

Texas Instruments, Texas Instruments Foundation, High-Tech High Heels Fund at Dallas Women's Foundation


Wanda Gass, Executive Director

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Design Principles

The programs in this database clear a high bar. STEMworks reviewed each program against the Design Principles for Effective STEM Philanthropy.

  • Accomplished
  • Developing
  • Undeveloped

Overarching Principles

  • Need

    Identify and target a compelling and well-defined need.

  • Evaluation

    Use rigorous evaluation to continuously measure and inform progress towards the compelling need identified.

  • Sustainability

    Ensure work is sustainable.

  • Replication and Scalability

    Demonstrate replicability and scalability.

  • Partnerships

    Create high impact partnerships

  • Capacity

    Ensure organizational capacity to achieve goals.

STEM Principles

  • Challenging and Relevant Content

    Offer challenging and relevant STEM content for the target audience

  • STEM Practices

    Incorporate and encourage STEM practices.

  • Inspiration

    Inspire interest and engagement in STEM.

  • Under-Represented Groups

    Identify and address the needs of under-represented groups.