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Houston organization strives for equity for energy transition for young women in STEM
STEM occupations account for nearly 7 percent of all U.S. occupations, however, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, women make up only 27 percent of STEM workers. Studies continue to show that between the ages 8 and 14, girls’ confidence levels drop by 30 percent and by the time they reach middle school, they completely lack confidence and self-esteem to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Loretta Williams Gurnell is working to change the narrative for Houston students.
In 2016, Gurnell established SUPERGirls Shine Foundation, which is a Houston-based nonprofit organization that is focused on providing underserved girls with the opportunity and resources to succeed in STEM. By providing a strong STEM foundation, the organization equips girls with the tools to excel in professions that traditionally have low female and diverse representation.
In addition, the organization focuses on closing the gender gap in STEM, noting that their goal is to increase the number of girls in STEM classes, degrees and careers by 25 percent by the year 2025. Despite making up more than 57 percent of the workforce, women are still significantly outnumbered by men in STEM professions.
On a yearly basis, SUPERGirls Shine Foundation awards graduating high school seniors and collegiate ambassadors up to $10,000 dollars to close the financial gaps for college degrees. The foundation offers internships for college students and recent graduates to bring awareness, access and equity for more women and girls from underserved communities in STEM, innovation and leadership initiatives.
Through their 40/40 Mentorship Program, the foundation matches high-level industry leaders to grades 8th – 12th to provide skill-building and networking opportunities. The SUPERGirls Collegiate Ambassador Membership Program serves as a network for college students and recent graduates seeking community, careers and access to industry experts and mentors in STEM.
Learn more about Greentown Labs startup SUPERGirls Shine Foundation and how the organization is providing underserved girls with the opportunity and resources to succeed in STEM.
This article originally ran on the Greater Houston Partnership's Houston Energy Transition Initiative blog. HETI exists to support Houston's future as an energy leader. For more information about the Houston Energy Transition Initiative, EnergyCapitalHTX's presenting sponsor, visit htxenergytransition.org.