Girls IMPACT (Increasing Mathematical Potential Among College-bound Teens) is an innovative, pre-collegiate program uniquely designed for girls of color to be introduced to women of color who work in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics(STEM) professions. Additionally, as mathematics is critical to success in STEM fields, Girls IMPACT participants benefit from enhanced mathematics and problem-solving skills by engaging in ACT prep lessons, hands-on STEM activities, and individualized tutoring sessions throughout the program. The program meets over the course of 8 sessions in the summer, and participants complete daily assignments through the use of a learning management system.

Since the inception of the program in 2016, the goals of the program are three-fold:

Goal 1: To build the participants’ foundational skills in algebra concepts which can be critical in successfully pursuing STEM fields

Goal 2: To broaden participants’ awareness of STEM careers

Goal 3: To increase the participants’ interest in pursuing STEM fields

According to the U.S. Department of Education, females make up less than 25% of participants in science, technology, engineering, and math programs nationally. While women receive over half of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the biological sciences, they receive far fewer in the computer sciences (18.2%), engineering (19.2%), physics (19.1%), and mathematics and statistics (43.1%) (NSF, Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering, 2015). In February 2013, former President Barack Obama stated, “One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to.” To ensure that math is not a barrier to participants’ persistence in pursuing STEM majors, measures will be taken to strengthen their skills in this area. Ultimately, the Girls IMPACT Summer Program will provide a pipeline into college for girls of color in pursuit of STEM degrees.

Therefore, the Girls IMPACT Summer Program is seeking 7th through 11th grade girl participants. The program is free and is hosted by Lawson State Community College on the Birmingham Campus (ACATT building).

History of Girls IMPACT

The Girls IMPACT Program began as a proposal idea for a service grant opportunity provided by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Doctoral Scholars Association.  The “Pay It Forward” service grant is another way that the SREB program seeks to empower scholars to make a difference in their communities.  Two service grants of $1,000.00 are awarded each year to two program graduates that will use the funds to create a project that exposes/encourages the next generation of students to expand their educational horizons.  Dr. Shawanda Thomas, a graduate of the SREB Doctoral Scholars Program, received one of the two service grants awarded in 2016. 

In 2016, the program was held at the Bessemer Public Library with 25 participants and was relocated to Lawson State Community College in 2017.  In 2018, the program grew to 66 participants.  The program continues to have great success.


Girls IMPACT Speaker Newton
“The Girls IMPACT program has definitely impacted me in the sense that I am now sure of what path I want to be on in life. Having the speakers from different backgrounds come in and speak to us is what inspired me the most. Coming into this program I wasn't sure what I was going to get out of it, and I wasn't quite sure if I was capable of pursuing medical school, but now I am more than sure. I believe in myself, and I have the attitude that I know I can be successful. I am capable of conquering anything that might seem difficult, not despite being female, but because I am female.”
Olivia L.
2017 GI Participant