Richland College Partners with Girls Inc. to Provide Middle School Girls a Glimpse Into College Life and Access to S.T.E.M. Programs and Careers

Girls huddled around a lab table.

Girls Inc. campers participate in lab activities at Richland College on their first day of camp Monday, June 22. Photograph by Paul Knudsen.

For the second year in a row, Richland College recently partnered with Girls Inc. of Dallas, a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold, to host part of a four-week summer camp for middle school girls.

The camp, called “EUREKA!”, empowers campers to see themselves as an important part of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workforce of the future. Richland College is hosting the first week, June 22-26, which focuses on “Water: Ubiquitous and Unique.” The girls are exploring various properties of Earth’s most important resource in the contexts of sustainability and ecology. The curriculum includes experiential learning activities in the sciences, 3-D art, learning strategies, college readiness and communications skills. Each afternoon, the girls also learn about the physics and fun behind the hula-hoop.

“The unique feature of this program is that we are intentionally nurturing a cohort of girls in STEM fields over a five-year period,” said Sherry Dean, Ph.D., Richland College professor of speech communication. “We will nurture them through high school graduation and help them secure successful higher education pathways in a STEM major. By the time these girls graduate, they will have both the knowledge and confidence to pursue a career in STEM.”

Upon completing their first week of camp at Richland College, the girls will go to the University of North Texas at Dallas, followed by the University of Texas at Dallas. The camp concludes at Cedar Valley College on July 24 with a closing ceremony featuring a rocket launch.

“The accumulation of learning and exposure to STEM over the course of four weeks could have a tremendous impact on a girl’s future,” said Girls Inc. of Dallas CEO Lori Palmer. “We hope to help girls become well equipped for the future by exposing them to diverse opportunities like careers in STEM and ongoing summer learning opportunities.”

The “EUREKA!” program is sponsored in part by SAP Labs, the TI Foundation, ExxonMobil and a $10,000 grant from State Farm that is specifically funding the first week of camp at Richland College.