Skip to main content

Empowering girls through STEM education – 2023

Orange County, CA
Dates June 17 - August 12, 2023
Program Focus

Empowering girls participating in Girls Inc. of Orange County summer programming by giving them tools to help navigate social, economic and gender barriers to help them to grow into healthy, confident adults, with a focus on personal development, health, and STEM education.

Dates subject to change

Program Leaders
Program Themes
  • Children & Youth
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Female Empowerment
  • Science
  • Technology



Information Session:

  • Tuesday, November 15, 5:00 PM – Gross Hall 355


The theme of this program is women’s empowerment through education. DukeEngage Orange County students will volunteer full time with Girls Incorporated (Girls Inc.) of Orange County – an affiliate of the long-standing national organization dedicated to teaching at-risk and underserved girls to be self-sufficient, successful adults. Specifically, their mission is “to inspire all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.” 

Students will volunteer at Eureka! Summer Camp for girls of various age groups (those entering 7th-10th grades) by being mentors and leaders of classes, break-out sessions, and activity sessions dedicated to personal and career development, as well as health, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) enrichment. The majority of these girls are underrepresented minorities whose families make less than $30,000 annually. In addition, most of the campers are from Santa Ana, a California city with the highest degree of urban hardship as well as high rates of poverty, unemployment, and minimal education according to the Public Policy Institute of California. During the time leading up to Eureka! Summer Camp, participating DukeEngage students will create their own STEM curricula, which will be taught and implemented once camp begins. Previously implemented curricula include how to build a microscope, how to remove foreign objects from the ear, and how a periscope works. Students will also learn National Girls Inc. curricula then co-facilitate those lessons to campers. Such programming includes college preparation, health awareness and reproductive health.

By the end of this DukeEngage program, we expect Duke students will gain increased ability to work independently in a new environment, knowledge of the challenges faced by other socio-economic classes, a sense of meaning and accomplishment through service, exposure to service-related careers, self-confidence in learned skills through teaching, and an understanding of the importance of targeting the “whole girl” and the profound impact that the appropriate environment and support can have on a girl’s future.


Community Partnerships

All students who participate in the DukeEngage OC program will be  placed in a full-time, 8-week partnership with the Orange County affiliate of Girls Incorporated. The Girls Inc. Eureka! Program is a four-week summer camp, beginning in July, intended for girls entering grades 7 through 10 that includes a curriculum of 25% health, 25% personal and career development, and 50% STEM content. Eureka! Is a full-time summer camp offered Monday-Friday. DukeEngage participants working at Eureka! can act as session leaders or support staff to work directly with the campers.

Prior to the start of Eureka! camp, DukeEngagers will attend information sessions, discussions, and training sessions with the Program Director and Girls Inc. Staff to identify the camp-specific service opportunities and lesson plans that most interest them. Together, the students, the Program Director and Girls Inc. will craft individual experiences that meet both student interests and Girls Inc. programming requirements. 

Eureka! programming is broken down into discrete modules or “theme weeks.” DukeEngage students will work together to create one full week of STEM curricula. Development of this curricula requires DukeEngage students to apply skills that they have learned inside and outside the classroom to leave the girls of Orange County with a new set of skills, interests, and abilities that will allow them to pursue careers they may never have been exposed to otherwise.

DukeEngage students will also assist Girls Inc. with developing and implementing other STEM curricula over the course of the four weeks, and will co-facilitate additional Girls Inc. programing with other staff or volunteers around topics such as healthy relationships, mind/body health, and college prep.

Students who enjoy their experience with Girls INC are encouraged to pursue other opportunities with Duke’s Center for Global Women’s Health Technologies.


Program Requirements

Skills: Girls Inc. has identified engineering as a topic that they would like to include in their curriculum; however, an extensive background in engineering or STEM is not a requirement. We welcome applications for students in all fields and find that diversity enhances the group experience.

Personal Qualities: We are looking for students of any gender who have a strong interest in service, education, and the role of girls and women in society. Students who are eager to serve as positive, accessible, role models that will inspire girls to pursue college careers in any field and want to work directly with at-risk girls are encouraged to apply. The successful applicant will be able to effectively and respectfully communicate and interact with girls of different ages, races, religions, and cultures. Girls Inc. feels strongly about providing positive male role models as well female ones.

The successful student in this program will be able to bring high energy and enthusiasm to camp with them every day, and will remain vigilant about the image they portray to campers. A high level of maturity is imperative as Girls Inc. programming includes subjects that can be difficult or uncomfortable for campers to talk about, such as teasing and bullying, staying safe in the modern world, recognizing and avoiding domestic violence/abuse, sexual harassment, and avoiding teen pregnancy and STDs.



Housing, meals, and transportation: Students will be housed in a nearby university dormitory. Dorms are typically apartment style, with single rooms, shared bathrooms, and kitchen facilities. Students will receive a stipend to purchase groceries and prepare their own meals. The site coordinator will take students to and from their placement sites in a rental van. Transportation will also be provided for weekly (or more frequent) grocery store runs. For non-program-related activities, there is a bus stop on campus that connects to the public transportation system.


Academic Connections

This program is open to all, and might especially appeal to students taking courses within Math, Science, Engineering, and Global Health.

Students who participate in this program might go on to pursue certificates or degrees in education or to attend medical school.


Potential program cancellations

DukeEngage cannot guarantee that any program will occur. Programs may be cancelled for various reasons, including COVID considerations.