In the summer of 2016, Cool Girls offered an entrepreneurship program for girls in grades 2-6. Boomtown was our sponsor for the program. The Leeds School of Business hosted the event and some of the mentors included founders and CEO’s of local tech companies in Boulder. We even had a future “Shark Tank” contestant!
The Daily Camera wrote up an article about event, which follows:
Boulder’s Cool Girls Science and Art after school program is hosting two summer camps at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business in late July and early August.
The camps are business plan accelerator weeks for girls who are entering second through sixth grade and want to learn the fundamentals of starting a business and the scientific method.
The girls’ program uses a mentorship model, bringing in science and business experts to help the girls develop their scientific and entrepreneurial goals and make them a reality.
“My role is to say to the girls, ‘hey, you can start a business just like anybody else, and being a kid shouldn’t stop you,'” said Richard Boyan, program manager for Century Link and Cool Girls volunteer mentor.
Mary Golden started the girls program in 2008 when her granddaughter asked her if she would help start an after school program for girls interested in science.
Since then the program has grown into a non-for-profit and for the first time, a summer camp.
“I wish there had been something like this when I was a kid,” Golden said. “I really want girls to know that they can do it. As a girl, it makes a huge difference doing something when you have seen another girl do it.”
The after school program has had an affect on many of the girls who got involved with it early.
“It was my introduction into science,” said former Cool Girl Paula Kissinger. “It’s the reason I am taking astro-science classes in high school. As a person who was thinking about going into that field, seeing people who were actually practicing was really cool.”
The program has attracted volunteer mentors ranging from company executives, to research professors, down to engineering students.
“My favorite thing was hearing the girls say that they wanted to grow up to be engineers and astronauts. It was encouraging to see girls that wanted to close the gender gap in the STEM field,” said Jenna Forte, a Society of Women Engineers Cool Girls volunteer.
Women make up about 39 percent of all chemists and materials scientists and about 14 percent of all architecture and engineering occupations, according to a 2014 US Department of Labor report.
“Cool girls really encouraged me to go for anything and not be limited because I am a woman. I am so proud to see how much it had grown,” former Cool Girl Club member Ruth Efe said.
The Cool Girls camp still has openings and does not turn down girls for financial reasons, Golden said.