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Strengthening Informal Science Programs for Girls

The National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP), which reaches 5.6 million girls through its programs, is strengthening the capacity of existing and evolving after-school and informal science collaboratives throughout the U.S. These programs are committed to encouraging girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The NGCP's collaborative model transforms the way informal science practitioners and educators work to advance girls' participation in STEM and provides for the sharing of scarce resources among organizations that heavily depend on volunteers and voluntary contributions. The program provides access to new research on gender and STEM, as well as professional development focused on sustainability, organizational effectiveness and shared leadership.  Evaluation results show high ratings among participants for the types of training offered.

NGCP currently supports 27 collaboratives in 36 states with activities and resources. The project connects with nearly 3,000 organizations registered in its online directory. During 2011-2012, NGCP developed four new state-based collaboratives that serve high-needs populations and with a high representation of those most underrepresented in STEM (e.g., Latinos, African Americans and Native Americans). Local convening organizations and representatives from community-based, K-12, higher education, government and professional organizations and industry lead the NGCP collaboratives. 

NGCP has also developed and disseminated new resources designed to impart research-based information and strategies on effective ways to reach underrepresented girls. Exemplary practices that provide real-life examples of evidence-based practices are available on the NGCP website and are used in participant training. In addition, the program offers materials that summarize interdisciplinary research on collaboration and best practices to build the capacity of STEM organizations in developing effective collaborations that leverage resources and expertise.

For more information, visit the NGCP website.


  • students work together on a stem activity
Students work together on a STEM activity.
Karen Peterson, EdLab Group

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