Our Schools

STEM Students Create Empowering Girls Conference

The Empowering Girls Club, started by four Jerry Knight STEM Academy learners, held their kick off event on April 6 at the Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts. The event was meant to help build middle school girls self-esteem.

The club began as a school project created by seventh-graders Erica Christenson, Lillian Osborne, Rebecca Peck and Anna Tomlinson, and is now blossoming into an ongoing resource for female students to be empowered and inspired for years to come.

“The purpose of creating Empowering Girls was to mainly help teenage girls with their self-esteem,” said Tomlinson. “We saw a problem with their social and emotional learning and we really just wanted to help them maintain a higher self-esteem throughout their education careers.”

The event was for moms and their students. It featured guest speakers, breakout sessions and the Debully Band.

“I loved seeing all the girls during it and seeing how interested they were in the actual event itself,” said Peck. “It made me very proud of all the work we did.”

The event stemmed from a project focusing on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, a psychology theory that states that there are certain needs that must be met before becoming self-actualized.

“We tasked all of our learners with identifying a need in the community,” said Jeremy Beckwith, a designer at the STEM Academy. “This is a significant need with the young girls in our society right now. I’m very proud that they chose something that is near and dear to them.”

Using the engineering design process, the creators began planning for the event in the fall of 2018 and in December, Empowering Girls was awarded a grant from the MISD Education Foundation.

“The research part of this project was probably one of the longest stages,” said Tomlinson. “We needed a lot of information to try to make our club the best it can be.”

In the future, the creators hope to expand the event to make it more purposeful and impactful.

“I’m proud of the event and the work we’ve done,” said Osborne. “Overall it was a lot of work, but it was really great.”