Girlstart After School

Program Type

Hands on/Project-Based
Informal /Out of School

Target Audience


Black/African American





Pre-K - 5
Grades 6 - 8

 Accomplished link

Program Impact

SEDL, a prestigious education research nonprofit, named Girlstart After School as one of very few U.S. STEM education programs for girls that runs for a full year, is based in research on what works, and lines up with academic standards for what all students should know and be able to do in math and science. Recent research suggests that Girlstart boosts girls' performance on standard tests and inspires them to take more challenging math and science courses in high school.


Program Overview

Girlstart After School is an intervention program that provides schools free, weekly after-school STEM programming for girls in the grades 3 through 8, as well as wraparound support for participating parents and teachers.

Based in Austin, Texas, Girlstart After School creates hands-on and inquiry-based activities across the STEM disciplines.  At each partner school, Girlstart After School forms a club of 20+ girls who meet weekly throughout the school year for an hour of hands-on, informal STEM programming aligned with state and national standards. Girlstart After School intends to increase girls' mastery in STEM subjects by introducing them to real-world applications as well as activities that build participants' skills. To help support students' mastery and engagement in STEM during the school day, Girlstart offers professional development sessions for participating schools and teachers, and it further assists schools to accomplish their goals for STEM learning school-wide through programmatic and strategic support.

Girlstart uses monthly parent-association meetings (in both English and Spanish) and math/science nights to help parents support their daughters' interest and achievement in STEM subjects. Girlstart hosts community-oriented Science Extravaganzas and showcases of student work (prepared by participants) at the end of each semester. All Girlstart After School participants receive free registration and transportation to the organization's Girls in STEM conference, hosted at the University of Texas-Austin.

Funders and Partners

Girlstart is grateful for gracious and dedicated donors that have made Girlstart After School expansion and replication possible. They include: Dell; Education Foundation of America; Google; the KDK-Harman Foundation; the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation; Motorola Solutions Foundation; and NASA's CP4SMP+ initiative. In addition, Girlstart After School has donors among the CTEq member corporations, including Battelle; Connect a Million Minds (An Initiative of Time Warner Cable); IBM; and JPMorgan Chase.


Tamara Hudgins, 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.