Girls Inc. of Greater Houston is a part of a dynamic collaborative partnership with the YMCA of the U.S.A., Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and National 4H Council to bridge the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) gap among historically under-represented youth.

Our role within this partnership is to deliver our certified curriculum, Operation SMART (Science, Math and Relevant Technology), to girls in grades 3–8 at various partner sites. The goal of Imagine Science is to work with our community partners to engage youth in having sustained exposure to STEM.

Girls Inc. Operation SMART develops girls’ enthusiasm for STEM. Girls learn new skills in this program by exploring their curiosity, problem solving, working in teams and getting the opportunity to creatively come to conclusions based on their own research. Through hands-on activities, girls explore, ask questions, persist, and solve problems.

Another intricate part of this program is the professional interactions girls get with women who are in STEM careers. Girls get a chance to interact with women who are currently working in the field. During in person programming, we are able to tour job sites, attend business lunches, ask women questions and see what a real-life work environment looks like.

Virtually, our girls engage in the same interactive activities. We provide STEM kits for the girls to ensure they have all the materials they need to successfully participate in each activity. Guest speakers join us online during synchronous activities and the girls get to ask questions to the female professionals. By interacting with women pursuing STEM careers, girls come to view these careers as exciting and realistic options for themselves.