Building Self-Confidence, Sisterhood, and Science Literacy

Our mission is to foster excitement, and increase self-confidence and literacy in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) amongst K-12th grade girls, particularly those from underrepresented communities, by providing free, experiential programs, and by maximizing meaningful interactions with women mentors in STEM.


Science Club for Girls was founded in 1994 as a grassroots organization by Beth O’Sullivan and Mary McGowan, two parents in Cambridge, Massachusetts who were concerned with issues of gender equity in math, science, and technology. We bring professional and student scientists and engineers and girls together in free after-school science clubs and challenge teams that focus on technical skills and inquiry learning. The clubs give young girls an opportunity to get involved in science and engineering activities in a fun, nurturing, interactive environment, an opportunity they might not otherwise receive.


In the past eight years, 92% of high school juniors and seniors who have participated in Science Club for Girls have gone on to college, with 55% of them majoring in science, engineering, or allied health. By comparison, only 22.5% of MA high school seniors who take the SAT intend to study STEM in college.

SCFG has designed K-5 programs that develop the curiosity of young children. We believe that it is never too early to connect and inspire them with role models who are excelling in these fields and help young girls dream big dreams.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of alumnae said SCFG was their primary introduction to STEM careers. Forty percent (40%) said SCFG was a very strong influence in their decision to take more challenging science or math courses in high school.

A recent survey of girls in 4-6th grade suggest that those who have participated in Science Club for Girls for two years or more are more interested in science class, and more aware of and interested in careers in science and engineering, than their peers who have just joined.


Science Club for Girls operates various programs with more than 200 volunteers that reach more than 1,000 youth annually, with about 70% of the girls coming from groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields.

Core Programs

  • K-5th grade Science Clubs: 8-10 weeks of hands-on explorations led by women in STEM
  • 6-8th grade STEMinistas: Inquiry- and project-based team learning
  • Junior Mentor Program: Adolescent girls serve as near-peer mentors and co-teachers in the clubs

Emerging Programs

  • Vacation Week Science Clubs: theme-based workshops and associated field trips.
  • Challenge Teams (Rocket Team, Media Team, and others): 8-12th grade clubs designed to develop skills in various areas related to STEM.
  • Career Exploration, Leadership, Life Skills (CELLS): Workshops expose girls to role models and careers in STEM, and cater to their socioemotional development to build the foundation for and a positive outlook toward their future.
  • Research internship program: Partnership with universities and companies to provide authentic, deep experiences in STEM.


United States

  • Cambridge and Boston: public schools, community centers and partners (e.g. King Open, Amigos, Mother Caroline Academy, Northeastern, Edison School)
  • Newton: Pine Manor College
  • Lawrence: South Lawrence East & Spark Academy, YDO


  • 2012 Root Cause Social Innovator
  • 2011 Advancement Award from the Boston Club
  • 2011 New England Innovator Award from SBANE (Smaller Business Association of New England)
  • 2010 After School Innovator Award from the MetLife Foundation and Afterschool Alliance.
  • 2009 Nonprofit of the Year Award from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce