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Project Scientist: Programs to Promote Girls in STEM

Alyssa Sharpe

  • Reading Time  Min Read
  • Publish Date July 5, 2016

Project Scientist is an education nonprofit devoted to addressing the challenges and disadvantages women and girls face in STEM. The vision of Project Scientist is to transform the face of STEM by nurturing future scientists who will lead the world in solving tomorrow’s greatest challenges. The mission of Project Scientist is to educate, coach, and advocate for girls and women with an aptitude, talent, and passion for STEM

Since launching in Charlotte in 2013, Project Scientist has experienced substantial growth including two new markets in Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA. We have grown from serving 95 girls in 2013 to engaging over 1,400 girls in 2016. We have partnered with three universities in Charlotte and two in southern California, including Caltech. We anticipate serving more than 1,500 girls through our six-week Summer Academy and our year-round STEM Expeditions.


It is widely acknowledged that science, technology, engineering and mathematics are increasingly important as fields of study, areas of job creation and a vital part of the economy. Yet girls continue to lag behind boys in pursuing STEM studies or careers. Despite comprising roughly half of the American workforce, women hold fewer than a quarter STEM-related jobs. Furthermore, 74% of high school girls are interested in STEM subjects, yet women hold a low share of STEM degrees. When research tells us that 94% of U.S. “STEM Girls” want to use their knowledge to help people and 92% want to make a difference with their STEM skills, we believe that by supporting girls in STEM we will bring new perspectives to our world’s greatest challenges.

Women in STEM careers participate in areas of great innovation that impact all areas of life – they also experience less of a wage gap and earn approximately 33% more than women in non-STEM careers. Attracting girls to STEM and keeping them in the STEM pipeline is not only an issue of personal growth, education and job satisfaction, but also of intellectual opportunity and economic equality.

Project Scientist is based on extensive research regarding girls in STEM. According to the Dept. of Commerce the lack of representation of women in STEM majors/careers is due to few female role models and gender stereotyping. Our programs address the issue by providing a community of support unique to each stage of a future scientist’s path.

Summer STEM Academy

Every summer, we welcome 4-12 year olds to Project Scientist Academy! In Academy, we create a community of like-minded girls that enjoy exploring through the sciences and celebrating their accomplishments (and failures!) Surrounded by brilliant and passionate STEM teachers, professors, and professionals, our girls are inspired and provided the right tools to take advantage of the endless opportunities available to them in STEM.

Over the course of six-weeks students are immersed in STEM, learning from a tailored curriculum facilitated by highly skilled and credentialed educators, exciting hands-on experiments and field trips, and daily interactions with female STEM role models from a variety of professional fields. Each week has a different theme, ranging from Animals, Bugs and Botany to Forces of Nature!
Project Scientist - Project

Corporate Partnerships

Our program model and its success is dependent on our great partners in the community! We carefully select our partners based on their current practices around girls and women in STEM as well as their future goals to create a diverse workforce and learning environment. Having our vision align with these partners, creates a synergistic relationship that will eventually benefit all STEM girls and women.

Get Involved

There are many ways you to help inspire the next generation of female scientists in Charlotte!

STEM Superstar: Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, we begin with inspiration from real women in STEM! Interacting with STEM Superstars opens girls up to non-traditional roles and fields, with new academic and career trajectories. Featured Superstars are celebrated with an invitation to share their STEM story with our campers. During their visit to camp Superstars engage students in hands on activities and a student-led Q&A session, interacting with our students either, in-person through a camp visit or virtually via Skype.

Host an Expedition: Every Wednesday during Academy, and on select days during the school year, we take on our scientist on Expeditions to a STEM company. Our Expedition program brings home the relevance of STEM to girls through getting a VIP behind the scenes look at companies and hearing from female STEM professionals. Tours of companies provide a glimpse of what a day-in-the-life is like and hearing from female STEM superstars at work gives girls the vision that they too can succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math. For example, we’re pleased to have Skookum as an expedition host this summer. Their team will provide a fun hands-on design-thinking activity to familiarize the girls with the product design process and user-centered problem solving.

Scholarships: Project Scientist is proud to have a hybrid model where we have some girls attend that pay full tuition and some girls attend that are on full scholarship. Roughly 40% of our scientists are accepted on a merit and needs-based scholarship. This is important for our mission because we aim to bring diversity to STEM and we believe that a girl from any zip code can solve the world’s greatest problems.

Materials/Technology: Does your company specialize in innovation with interesting technology? We we would be honored to borrow your technology in our Academy to get our girls exposure to the materials STEM companies are using in their industry!

Volunteer: Are you an expert or hobbyist in a field we are studying? We are always in need of volunteers to spend time in the classroom with our girls to share their talents and passions.

Volunteer for an Expedition: Many companies will allow employees to take a day off of work for community service. We are happy to host employees from different companies to serve as volunteers for our Expedition Days.

This work is important and urgent and we need the support of STEM companies, such as Skookum, to inspire our girls at a young age to develop a love for STEM. Both men and women in STEM fields can get involved with Project Scientist, so please reach out to Alyssa Sharpe,, to start supporting girls in STEM today! Watch their video to learn more.

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