Girl Empowerment Through STEAM & Resilience

Empowering Girls and the Caring Adults in Their Lives: That’s Pretty Brainy

Here’s the problem: girls’ science and math learning will continue to suffer until STEM education respects girls in science and math. The discouragement and barriers girls face in these subjects in the U.S. happen as early as elementary school. And yet, bias-free learning is every child’s right.

That’s why Pretty Brainy came to be: to give girls science and math experiences with a real-world purpose, where girls are respected as scientists, engineers, designers, and technologists with ideas to test and grow.

We empower girls to gain STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art + design, and math — so they are equipped to develop their abilities and genius to make a positive difference in the world. That’s our mission. Through Pretty Brainy, girls also gain the professional skills and self-efficacy to be prepared to help shift the academic and professional environments they enter and in which they have a right to belong. That’s girl empowerment through STEAM and resilience.

That’s Pretty Brainy.

We Empower Girls to Gain STEAM

Our Starting Point: What Matters to Girls

Among the Outcomes: Girl Resilience

Girl Empowerment Through STEAM and Resilience

Learn about the ways we’re preparing innovators, problem-solvers, thinkers, and leaders. Download our Fact Sheet of Learning Outcomes.

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Pretty Brainy is an award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2008 to transform how girls ages 10 to 18 see themselves and their capabilities in science and math. In 2015 we introduced service learning to our lineup of workshops and curricula, directly appealing to girls’ interests in humanitarian engineering, innovation, social entrepreneurship, and design. What’s service learning? The opportunity to learn by doing while serving others and providing a solution to a recognized need. At Pretty Brainy, girls give back through STEAM.

It’s a Girl Empowerment Thing

Each year, Pretty Brainy and its corps of skilled volunteers directly mentor girls in physical science, humanitarian engineering, design thinking, creative technology, and computational thinking. Through the experience, girls work with scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and developers. They also gain professional skills in order to communicate the science, processes, and decision-making behind the prototypes and innovations they develop in Pretty Brainy.

Through Pretty Brainy, girls gain empowerment through out-of-school enrichment, professional mentoring, and science and engineering with a purpose.

Examples of Our Accomplishments to Date

Launching the first-ever all-girl innovation marathon for climate action. The marathon drew a racially and culturally diverse cohort of 40 girls, 20 mentors, and 10 subject-matter experts in the fields of energy, physics, engineering design, sustainable living, and human-centered technology. Held at Colorado State University, judges chose three innovations for development based on their feasibility to reduce CO2 emissions for the City of Fort Collins, CO.

Making it possible for our all-girl team to build and launch a scalable, mobile application to help citizens sustainably change their behavior to reduce their carbon emissions and contribute to a cooler planet Earth. When they began the project, our senior developers had an average age of 17.

Giving girls the space and support to learn computational thinking, code, and engineering design thinking to prototype devices to solve healthcare problems for the people in their lives. Working at the crossroads of technology and creativity, girls emerged from the program to —

  • Create their own coding classes for younger students.

  • Seek intellectual protection for their devices, based on feedback from technology entrepreneurs.

  • Enter college on full-ride scholarships, based on their service learning through Pretty Brainy.

Why STEAM and STEM Equity Matter

Our world is in a dire place in which we need the brain power of all of our future STEAM talent — all prospective technologists, thinkers, scientists, and leaders are needed to make the world safe, sustainable, equitable, and healthy.

Data collected by the American Association of University Women and others show that biases of who belongs in STEM continue to be pervasive, and the picture diminishes girls and women. Even more so, and despite demographics, the picture excludes people of color.

In 1990, women made up 23 percent of all STEM professionals. Today the number of women in STEM rests at 29 percent. A gain is a gain, but for the number to have risen just 6 percent in 30 years demands ongoing scrutiny and work toward STEM and STEAM equity. (Source: National Science Foundation National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics 2019.)

Pretty Brainy, tax ID number is 80-0958846, is accredited through the Community First Foundation. As a qualified, charitable nonprofit, we participate in Colorado Gives Day, held each year during the first week of December. Thank you for your support on this day and every day of the year. Thank you for empowering girls and bringing equity to STEM and STEAM learning. View our profile at