aka Girlstart   |   Austin, TX   |


Girlstart's mission is to increase girls' interest and engagement in STEM through innovative, nationally recognized informal STEM education programs. By empowering more girls to continue STEM studies, we can help address our nation's STEM workforce inequities and impact innovation and economic development in America and across the globe. To accomplish its mission, Girlstart develops and implements a range of innovative, research- and standards-based education and mentorship programs designed to promote girls' early engagement and academic success in STEM, encourage girls' aspirations and persistence in STEM education and careers, and incubate a talented and diverse STEM workforce.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

Dr. Beverly Hamilton

Main address

1400 W. Anderson Lane

Austin, TX 78757 USA

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NTEE code info

Primary/Elementary Schools (B24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Efforts to build the nation’s STEM workforce must grapple with the fact that nearly half of this potential workforce—women and girls—is going largely untapped. While nearly as many women hold undergraduate degrees as men overall, they make up only about 30% of all STEM degree holders. Females also remain proportionally under-represented in STEM careers, comprising 47% of the country’s total working population but just 25% of college-educated STEM workers. Disparities are even higher among women of color: in 2015, minority women held less than 10% of science and engineering jobs. Research points to enduring gender bias, internalized stereotype threat, and lack of female role models as persistent factors that discourage girls and women from pursuing STEM and STEM-related professions.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Girlstart After School

Girlstart runs free, weekly STEM After School programs at 90+ high-need elementary schools across 25+ districts. Each week, clubs of 25 4 th -5 th grade girls meet for an hour of hands-on STEM activities that align with their school curriculum. In 2020, Girlstart After School reached over 3,000 girls; in 2020-21, we aim to continue expanding our programs to new schools in Central Texas, Houston, North Texas, the Rio Grande Valley, Boston, MA and the Bay Area, CA. Girlstart After School also includes a suite of wraparound services, including professional development for teachers and support to school science fairs, which we provide at no cost to each partner school. Quasi-experimental research of this program demonstrated that Girlstart After School has a significant impact on participants’ academic progress, and participants (post participation) also enroll in advanced and pre-AP math, science, and STEM electives at a higher rate than their non-participant peers.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

Throughout the summer months, Girlstart provides week-long STEM Summer Camps for girls in the 4 th -8 th grades. At our building in Austin, we run 14 fee-based Summer Camps, with need-based scholarships available. We also offer 14+ free Summer Camps for girls in high-need communities outside of Austin every summer. These satellite Camps are offered in partnership with community-serving organizations (such as Boys and Girls Clubs) in each partner community. Every Girlstart Summer Camp features intensive technology components, such as app development, robotics, 3D design and printing, circuitry, video game development, and object-to-computer interface programming. In 2020, Girlstart reached 1,029 through 33 virtual Summer Camps at Home (due to COVID-19).

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

Girlstart’s annual conference for girls—held in Austin and Houston, but girls from across Texas also participate—is a full-day event that brings 500+ 4 th -8 th grade girls together with female professionals in STEM fields. Girls participate in a series of hands-on workshops led by female STEM role models. This experience introduces girls to the wide variety of STEM careers available to them, allows them to interact with professional STEM mentors, and provides a great opportunity for girls to meet new friends with similar STEM interests. 2019’s Girls in STEM Conference reached 769 girls, and an additional 320 workshop leaders and volunteers. Owing to COVID-19, Girlstart had to postpone our Girls in STEM 2020 Conferences. We are waiting until it is safe to bring groups of girls together before scheduling our next conference.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Children and youth

Every year Girlstart provides free, family-friendly hands-on STEM programming to thousands of community members. In addition to introducing children to the fun of STEM learning, Community STEM education programs are designed to make STEM accessible to community members from all walks of life, to educate parents about the importance of STEM, and to educate the public about gender inequity in STEM fields. Girlstart’s free Community STEM programs include Starry Nights at our Mini-Planetarium, Community Science Extravaganzas, booths at community events, and programs with our traveling StarLab planetarium. Girlstart reached 13,000+ community members through our Community STEM programs in 2020. We also have an online program called DeSTEMber, which enjoys a high level of engagement across the nation.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work


Afterschool STEM Storybook recognition 2012

Afterschool Alliance

Informal STEM best practices recognition 2012

Booz Allen Hamilton/ NASA Summer of Innovation

STEMWorks Database recognition 2012

Change the Equation

STEM Scale-up Evaluation 2013

Change the Equation

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goals are to:
● Increase girls’ competency in conducting scientific investigations and critical thinking/reasoning;
● Increase girls’ facility and mastery in STEM skills;
● Increase girls’ confidence and interest in conducting STEM activities; and
● Increase girls’ awareness of STEM careers and interest in pursuing STEM electives, subjects, majors, and careers.

Girlstart programs build the fundamental skills and knowledge in STEM—as well as the confidence and interest in STEM—that girls will need to pursue STEM courses, activities, majors, and careers. By helping girls to build strong foundations in STEM, Girlstart makes girls more successful, and inspires them to take on the world’s greatest challenges.

Studies show that gender differences in attitudes and interest in science are present by the end of the elementary grades. These early years therefore represent a crucial window not only for providing students with a solid foundation in STEM subjects, but also for cultivating an enthusiasm for STEM among girls. Girlstart intervenes at this critical juncture with opportunities for girls in grades 4–8 to explore a range of STEM disciplines and activities, within a community of role models and peers who can encourage their interest and persistence in the STEM pipeline. In addition, grades 4-5 are a vital time to invest in education and in STEM in particular. The 5th grade is the first administration of a standardized test in science (standardized tests in math are administered every year, and multiple administrations are available, so this data point, while illustrative, does not present a full picture). Performance on these tests can have a profound impact on a child’s future with regard to options for taking advanced math and science courses in middle school. By enrolling in more advanced math and science courses in middle school, the doors for a child’s future stay open, whereas if they do not participate in these advanced courses, future options decrease. Girlstart After School in particular is oriented around this issue, so that we can help shape a girl’s future by proactively helping her get on and stay on advanced math and science tracks.

Our programs have received national recognition, including:

● In May 2017, Girlstart After School and Girlstart Summer Camp were re-certified as effective informal STEM programs by Change the Equation in its ‘STEMWorks’ quality initiative. Girlstart is still the only organization in to have two programs included as part of STEMWorks (originally recognized in July 2012).

● In January 2016, Girlstart was selected by The National Journal as a highly effective organization in the US that is ‘renewing’ the nation through our work.

● In September 2015, Girlstart was recognized as a “Bright Spot in Hispanic Education” by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.

● In March 2015, Girlstart was inducted into the SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame for our work to bring STEM and technology education programs to girls.

● In July 2014, Girlstart’s externally verified analysis of the impact of Girlstart After School program participation on girls’ academic progress was highlighted in a report released by the Afterschool Alliance and the Noyce Foundation.

Since 1997, Girlstart has served over 80,000 girls and 10,000 teachers and families with school-based programs, professional development for teachers, summer camps, STEM career conferences and expos, large-scale science events for families, and community STEM education outreach programs. Girlstart programs are open to girls K-12. We are focused on serving girls of diverse ethnicities, girls who live in low-income or nonurban environments, and/or are considered at-risk. In 2019, we served more than 28,000 girls, teachers, and family members, 97% of whom participated at no cost.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Board of directors
as of 02/25/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jennifer Pratt


Term: 2021 - 2024

Shelley Gretlein


Beverly Hamilton


Christy Kranik

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Monica Suman Krishnan


Megan Lueders

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Jonanna Mikulenka

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Jennifer Pratt


Denise Raper


Christina Self

Jacob Sims

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Angie Weyant

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Ibrahima Garba

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Lyn Lantz


Shameka Young


Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/25/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/25/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.