Girls Inc. Operation SMART

The Girls Inc. experience empowers girls to succeed.  Girls Inc. provides girls with trusting mentoring relationships, a girls-only environment, and research-based, hands-on programming. Three critical goals drive our programming: to help girls achieve healthy lives, succeed academically, and acquire the life skills needed to prepare them for adulthood. We work to ensure that girls participate in programs and activities that support and expand on their school-based learning and engagement. It is also important that girls are motivated to set and achieve educational and career goals, particularly in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  

Why is a program that focuses on STEM for girls important?

Over the past 30 years in the United States and Canada, women have vastly increased their proportion of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees earned in STEM fields. At the same time, however, substantial gaps remain. Girls continue to lag behind boys in STEM course enrollment beyond that required for graduation and in advanced placement exam participation, particularly in STEM subjects such as computer science, physics, and higher math. Of greater concern is the fact that gains in education have not translated into equality in the workplace. Women still represent approximately one in five faculty members employed in computer science, mathematics, engineering, and the physical sciences collectively.

Contributing to the underrepresentation of women in these fields are persistent stereotypes that girls are not good at or aren’t interested in STEM. It is critically important that these stereotypes are dispelled and other obstacles that get in girls’ way are removed. Simply opening the doors will not work. Girls deserve supportive, experiential, all-girl environments where they feel invited and encouraged to join the fun of discovering the world around them and where they can prove to themselves that they do like and can be good at STEM.

Such a foundation will be key to girls persisting in STEM education and preparing for lucrative STEM careers that most of them would otherwise never consider. It will also be important for girls to discover that they can excel in STEM courses and careers.

SMART program 
 2018 Trisha-Reet-Tanishka-and-Snighda

About the Program

Girls Inc. Operation SMART develops girls’ enthusiasm for and skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through hands-on activities, girls explore, ask questions, persist, and solve problems. By interacting with women and men pursuing STEM careers, girls come to view these careers as exciting and realistic options for themselves.

Girls Inc. Operation SMART is an approach that each organization can apply to its own programming. Girls Inc. organizations may also implement one or more of the following components that have been built around the SMART philosophy.

Since 2011 Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta and BrainStem Alliance have partnered to inspire the next generation of Female Engineers by offering the Operation SMART (Science, Math and Relevant Technology).  This is an 8 session program where girls ages 10-14 will work with female engineers to explore the vast array of engineering disciplines.  This is a hands on, interactive, and life transforming program. Program usually offered in the fall.

For more information contact Girls Inc of Northern Alberta, call: 780-790-9236 or email: