STEM Access For Girls

Empowering the next generation of woman leaders for a future in STEM.

Photo of Claudia Gourdet

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Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Website: Twitter:@Accessforgirls Instagram: stemaccess4girls Facebook:

Date Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Scaling (expanding impact to many new places or in many new ways)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

I founded STEM Access for Girls in 2016 as my commitment to action for the Clinton Global Initiative University, which inspires social entrepreneurs to collaborate on innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. I stepped up to make a change because growing up in Haiti I was never exposed to STEM. When I came to the US and was exposed to STEM, I did not know I could pursue a career in that field. For this reason, I took action to provide other young ladies with STEM experience. By working with girls, we help them formulate their thithinking about the career path they will pursue. Our mission is to inspire underprivileged girls, in developing countries, to pursue a STEM field career path through mentorship, internships, technical studies and hands-on workshops. Our ultimate goal is to fuel their curiosity, and assist them in becoming innovators, community leaders and entrepreneurs.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

This project addresses several problems including gender and racial disparities, sense of belonging in STEM fields, and lacking access to STEM education. Lacking access to quality education contributes to poor social and economic development. The primary focus of STEM Access for Girls is to provide STEM enrichment activities and mentoring to girls in developing countries to work toward eradicating these problems.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

STEM Access for Girls helps to give underrepresented girls the opportunity to obtain STEM education. STEM Access for Girls brings a STEM-based academic and workforce curriculum to young woman between the ages of 9-20. The hands-on workshops help the girls to develop the spatial logic and critical skills necessary for a STEM career path. By doing this, we able to spark their interest in STEM careers and help them become innovative thinkers. To engage the girls, we will use the active learning model, which incorporates collaborative work, inquiry-based learning, simulation, observation and practical application. This allows the individuals to engage in social and emotional learning. The participants collaborate and complete projects in groups. As a result, they become like-minded and have a better understanding of the impacts of their contributions. STEM Access for Girls also provides a unique experience. They become inventors and innovators during activities. Through a variety of holistic experiences, STEM Access for Girls will help girls acquire new skills, provide creative outlets to allow them to change their communities and compete in the global market.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

We piloted the program in Miragaone, Haiti with 45 girls, and introduced them to STEM. We began with icebreaker activities, then explored STEM concepts. This was the first time they had done anything related to buoyancy, sustainable building and team building. Successful participants will complete four phases: Phase 1- Learning and Development: engages participants in STEM curriculum Phase 2- Practical application: small group activities to learn specific skillsets and complete project relevant to their community Phase 3- Workforce Readiness: teaches soft skills, resume building, mock interviews, academic requirements for career pathways Phase 4-Intership and Practical training Students receive STEM training and mentorship from local professionals. Community members can offer support by volunteering, fundraising, sharing their talents.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

1.Prior to 2016, when I started STEM Access for Girls, there was no STEM enrichment curriculum or activities for youth in Haiti. Organizations provided general support as mission trip; no focus on STEM. More STEM programs are flourishing now, other organizations do not focus on girls-they incorporate both genders. 2.None of the other organizations have incorporated a Continued Education and Paid-Internship phase to allow the participants to apply what they learned. 3.Once girls participate in the program, they join a life-long network to support them as they go through their venture

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

To date, we have visited three cities, over 100 students and provided over 50 hours of direct service. With the support of several community organizations, we received funding to launch and operate the program. Funding has allowed us to purchase necessary materials and equipment have been donated in an effort to make the program a success. STEM Access for Girls in Haiti has received support from community organizations like Educate Tomorrow, Casa Valentina, iCED at Miami Dade College and the Clinton Global Initiative University. Each girl who participated in the early phases of STEM Access for Girls received a meal, a kit that included art supplies, individual attention and a certificate of completion. Program participants describe their experiences in STEM Access for Girls as, “the first time I really believed in myself,” and “I wish more girls like me can experience this program.”

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

1. Expand capacity in Haiti: Reach 500 girls by 2020. 2. Expand to Suriname in 2018: Reach 50 girls by 2018. 3. Expand to other developing countries: Train other social entrepreneurs to duplicate STEM Access for Girls in their communities. 4. Analyze program satisfaction survey data for program feedback and improvement: by doing this I can share the data and outcome with with partners and potential sponsor to better understand the impact and need of programs like this 5. Coordinate STEM internship program training and placement. 6. Expand the STEM Access for Girls to STEAM Access for Girls because art is essential in a child's development, it allows them to express themselves in creative manner.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Tangible help, mentoring from experts and monetary support combined will ensure our success. The most urgent resources for our expansion include securing staff to design and facilitate the future workshops, provide non-profit management coaching, and identifying sponsors. Support from local organizations is essential for STEM Access for Girls to achieve its goals. We partner with a community organization, Educate Tomorrow, which has offered to assist in raising awareness and identifying sponsors to assist with travel, lodging and meal costs.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $100-$1k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

I have partnered with a social entrepreneur I met from Suriname. We quickly learned there is a need for STEM Access for Girls in districts like Wanica, Suriname because young ladies are forced to make a career choice by an early age. STEM Access for Girls in Suriname will provide young ladies with STEM exposure and open their eyes to possible careers in STEM. She is now my teammate and we are currently in the program development phase for her location. Locally, Miami Dade College creates a culture of change within the community as a designated Ashoka U Changemaker Campus. I have networked with other changemakers who motivate me to make a difference. I even had the opportunity to mentor other changemakers who had phenomenal ideas ready to take on the world and create change. All they needed was guidance and support I was able to provide.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • T-Mobile page or contact
  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Other


Join the conversation:

Photo of Carra Wu

Hi Claudia! This project is awesome-- STEM education is an investment that pays back again and again. Glad to see you working in education. :)

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