Thinking SMART

STEM – Leadership – Wellness

Thinking SMART is a no-cost program designed to help girls grow into confident, curious, and competent young women. By providing high-quality science learning, leadership development, social support, and help with academic and career planning, Thinking SMART equips girls with the tools they need to blaze their own trails in life.

The Thinking SMART program starts in 7th grade and continues through high school graduation to the next steps of higher education and career training. This long-term commitment allows girls the time and space to grow intellectually, socially, and personally. It also allows us to meet their evolving needs as they navigate a critical time in their lives.

In Thinking SMART, girls can

  • Gain confidence
  • Have fun and make friends
  • Plan for academic success
  • Explore career paths
  • Practice leadership
  • Learn science, technology, and engineering skills
  • Earn money through paid STEM internships

Apply here | Solicitar aquí

The Thinking SMART Experience

6th – 8th Grade

During the first few years of Thinking SMART, girls participate in our after-school program centered on science exploration. They learn about the world around them, become familiar with scientific thinking and practice, gain exposure to STEM careers and fields, and develop their social and leadership skills.

9th Grade

Girls learn about STEM on college and university campuses and explore the natural world through scientific investigation.

Girls receive academic support and practice with life skills such as nutrition, physical activity, and positive body image.

10th Grade

Girls visit women in STEM professions and learn about career options and build confidence through outdoor activities.

Girls receive academic support, explore educational and career options, and learn about self-defense and healthy habits.

11th Grade

Girls gain experience and build independence through paid STEM internships arranged by Girls Inc.

Girls start making educational and career plans, practice leadership as mentors, and connect with women leaders and role models.

12th Grade

Girls navigate the workplace by securing their own internships, paid through funding from Girls Inc.

Girls get help applying to college or other opportunities, obtaining financial aid, and finishing HS graduation requirements.

Why Thinking SMART?

Thinking SMART helps youth understand STEM career opportunities and be well prepared to join the community’s workforce in these fields. Without intervention, girls’ interest and confidence in STEM-related fields can begin to wane as early as elementary school. Between 4th and 8th grade, more girls than boys begin to turn away from science, technology, engineering, and math, making it critical to engage girls in middle school before they begin making selections for the high school classes they need to pursue STEM careers. The issue is not just about curiosity in the subject matter, but also confidence in their skills to do the work. Building interest and self-assurance in their STEM abilities early in their education is key, as is ongoing reinforcement throughout high school.

The Thinking SMART program is a community-wide effort that thrives on partnerships and interactions with schools, community-based organizations, and local businesses and corporations. With our partners’ help, Thinking SMART incorporates multiple internships during youth’s high school years that provide exposure to real career opportunities. Partners also provide volunteer support, field trips, and funding for the program, ensuring that young people meet role models and mentors who provide support and inspiration.

What does a day at Thinking SMART look like?

Every day is different! The program is designed for girls to explore many topics, activities, and subjects. Each day consists of multiple science, leadership, or wellness activities, plus time for homework help. Check out the sample schedules below:

Apply here | Solicitar aquí

We are currently recruiting our incoming cohort of 7th graders. If you or your daughter will be in 7th grade for the 2023-2024 school year, we encourage you to apply! Provided below are applications in English, Spanish, and one with the student portion in English and the parent portion in Spanish:

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