We’ve all heard a lot about the push to encourage girls into STEM, but just how do we achieve this objective? One view, for instance, is that we need to start exposing girls and young women to the world of STEM at an early age. The idea behind this approach is that when girls reach college, they will apply for a STEM major. Not only that, but they will be well-prepared enough to succeed! Girls-only STEM summer programs encourage girls to study STEM. Therefore, by encouraging young women in middle and high school to participate in these programs, a pathway into a STEM career can begin.
Recommended STEM Programs for Girls
Below is a list of recommended high school STEM programs that are exclusively for girls. Many of these programs are free and highly sought after; so, if you are a young woman considering a career in STEM, put an application in to one or more of them!
Girls Who Code has one mission: to close the gender gap in technology. To do so, it offers a 7-week introductory computer science program for girls going into their junior or senior year of high school. Following, participants learn through hands-on real-world projects in art and storytelling, robotics, video games, and more. It’s true, this day camp does not require participants to have coding/computer science experience; however, the program is competitive to get into.
Locations: several locations including Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; Washington DC; New York City, NY; Bay Area, CA; Atlanta, GA; Austin, TX; Boston, MA; and Chicago, IL
Application deadline: February 15
This program aims to increase diversity in the field of artificial intelligence by offering 9th-grade girls a three-week residential program of activities. For example, lectures, hands-on research projects, field trips, and mentoring activities. Competition is fierce for this program so make sure you give yourself ample time to put together a strong application!
Location: Stanford, CA
Application deadline: February 13
Cost: $6,500, however financial aid is available
MIT’s goal in offering this program is to spark high school girls’ interest in the future study of engineering and computer science. This four-week summer academic and residential experience provides high school girls the opportunity to explore engineering. In fact, students learn through hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects. Students chose between two streams: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering. As expected with an MIT course, this program is very competitive; only 60 applicants of 700 earn acceptance.
Location: Cambridge, MA
Application deadline: January 15
Cost: Free for families earning less than $120,000 and $3,500 for families earning more than $120,000.
This program’s motto is ‘Empowering young women to pursue careers in science and medicine’. Accordingly, this competitive program incorporates a mix of small-group discussions, demonstrations, and hands-on lab activities to explore current research topics in reproductive health. The program is offered over a period of six weeks on each Saturday during the spring semester to 10th-12th girls living in Philadelphia. Once completed, participants may apply for a paid summer internship.
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Application deadline: January 4
This program was founded to address two concerns for women in STEM. Firstly, there is a lack of mentors and the lack of a peer network, which leads to a high dropout rate of girls in STEM studies. Secondly, there is a low number of women pursuing graduate degrees and STEM careers. Instead, GSTEM strives to fix this. This five-week day camp is geared toward young women in their high school junior year who have a high aptitude in STEM subjects and offers participants the opportunity to work with a STEM mentor and work on an intensive research project for 5 weeks.
Location: New York City, NY
Application deadline: April 15 (RD)
Cost: $4,000, financial assistance is available
This short 3-day program works to dispel stereotypes in the high-tech industry offering a day camp to high school girls. Participants listen to executive speakers, participate in technology tours and demonstrations, and network. In addition, girls may learn through hands-on experience in workshops. Camps run from early spring through summer.
Location: Offered around the world, including Reno, Nevada; Redmond, WA; Las Colinas, TX; and Lehi, UT.
Application deadline: Rolling.
First Bytes aims to dispel myths about computer science, as well as intrigue young women with the potential of computing and the excitement of problem-solving. This program is offered to juniors and senior girls who reside in Texas. Specifically, this week-long experience offers participants the opportunity to get hands-on programming experience, visit research labs and learn about the newest technology.
Location: Austin, TX
Application deadline: March 13
This week-long residential program’s goal is to build community among women who aspire to be engineers and strengthen self-confidence among high school girls; specifically, those who are interested in STEM. The program introduces rising 11th and 12th-grade girls to the fundamental principles and concepts of engineering, as well as the influences of engineering on society. Students attend engineering lectures conducted by faculty and guest lecturers, conduct laboratory experiments, and observe laboratory demonstrations. Additionally, they participate in tours of campus labs and facilities and meet with professional engineers.
Location: College Park, MD
Application deadline: March 11, 2019
Cost: $1,100, a limited number of scholarships are available
This one-week residential camp gives young women an opportunity to explore topics and issues in engineering while meeting peers and mentors who have similar interests. Rising 10th -12th graders get to explore electrical and computer engineering through classroom instruction, demonstrations, hands-on activities, and tours, as well as team projects.
Location: Urbana-Champaign, IL
Application deadline: March 1
Cost: $1,000, financial aid scholarships are available
Smith College is the first women’s college in the nation to establish its own program in engineering science. This four-week residential summer program welcomes young women in high school with strong interests in science, engineering and medicine. Specifically, it provides the opportunity to do hands-on research with Smith faculty in the life and physical sciences and in engineering.
Location: Northampton, MA
Application deadline: March 22, rolling thereafter.
Cost: $6,380, financial aid is available
This program teaches young girls how they make a difference as future engineers. Therefore, girls participate in discussions with engineers from all different areas in engineering, including chemical, civil and environmental, mechanical, and electrical and computer engineering. This program is targeted at a slightly younger age group: rising 8th and 9th graders. Additionally, the program targets girls residing in Pittsburgh, PA. In 2017, 26 applicants of a pool of 80 were accepted.
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Application deadline: TBA
Interested in applying to any of these STEM programs for girls? Then we recommend you give yourself ample time to put together a strong application. For most of these programs, you will be competing against a large pool of applicants, so think carefully about your responses to the essay questions and choice of teacher/mentor who can recommend you for the program.
Best of luck to you!
In fact, many of our students at Empowerly have been successfully admitted to these summer programs and others. For more information on how to get help applying for these programs click below for a free consultation.