Girls Inc. Career Paths In STEM Helps Girls Break The Mold

PINELLAS PARK, FL — Parents today are looking for more when it comes to their children’s after-school care. They still expect reliable transportation, an after-school snack and homework assistance, but what if a program could offer more?

Enter Girls Inc. of Pinellas. For 60 years, Girls Inc. has offered an after-school enrichment program that gives parent everything they want and exactly what girls need: science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics programming in a safe, all-girl environment.

Dr. Divya Joshi

Dr. Divya Joshi, president of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Specialty Physicians, spoke to Girls Inc. summer campers last month.

“Studies show that girls could accomplish just as much in STEM as boys, but that society has (often unconsciously) lower expectations for girls than boys,” Joshi said. “Career advancement in STEM also favors men. Early exposure gives girls the self-confidence to pursue STEM if that is their passion.”

She’s not the only one with strong feelings about girls and STEM.

“It is so extremely important to introduce girls to STEM education, and all other education opportunities, at a young age because many don’t know what they don’t know. I had no idea it was possible to be a fighter pilot until someone told me I could do it my freshman year of college,” said Jessica King of Boeing Global Services Inc.

“When we bring awareness to opportunities that exist to young women, we may spark an idea for a career they never thought possible,” King continue. “When young women watch movies or TV shows where men are the only ones in certain career fields, they often don’t think of pursuing that path. It is so important for us to educate them that it is possible, and that they can really do anything.”

Jessica KingKing is an EA-18G pilot combat aircraft training technical specialist at Boeing with more than 1,100 hours of flight time in the EA-18G Growler, a variant of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet, which provides tactical jamming and electronic protection to U.S. military forces and allies around the world. She is one of many female leaders, trailblazers and entrepreneurs who serve as mentors and role models for Girls Inc. participants.

“We are delighted to create opportunities for our girls to see women in leadership,” shared Darla Otey, executive director. “We truly believe that if they can see it, they can be it.”

Girls Inc.’s innovative STEM programming is included in its after-school enrichment program. Registration is open now and financial aid is available.

Girls Inc. of Pinellas’s programming in partnership with local schools and organizations focuses on the development of the whole girl. A combination of long-lasting mentoring relationships, a pro-girl environment, and research-based programming equips girls to lead fulfilling and productive lives, break the cycle of poverty and become role models in their community.