Eureka! is an innovative 5-year program that addresses the gender gap in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Eureka! at UMass is a partnership between UMass Amherst and Girls Inc. of the Valley, launched in 2013 with the long-term goal of motivating girls to pursue post-secondary education and careers in STEM fields.
Each year, a cohort of 30 rising eighth grade girls begins a five-year journey. The first two years of the program take place on the campus of UMass Amherst throughout the month of July, where STEM experts (professors and graduate students) act as program facilitators. The UMass Recreation Center offers structured physical activities and wellness programming. Dining Services provides nutritional meals and workshops on healthy eating habits. Eureka! activities continue throughout the school year, reinforcing the skills and knowledge gained during the summer. (NOTE: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Eureka! STEM workshops were held virtually in 2020, and plans are underway to hold a mix of virtual and outdoor STEM workshops in 2021.)
Years 3 through 5 provide the Eureka! scholars with individual Externships at UMass and throughout the region, community building activities, college visits and support throughout their college application process. This long-term, sustained involvement supports girls in STEM, pursuing post-secondary education and careers that will enable them to be independent and successful throughout their lives.
Learn about Eureka! and the profound effects it has on girls' lives from UMass faculty, Girls Inc. staff—and the Eureka! scholars themselves—in this video. You can also watch more video updates from the early years of the program.
- 30 8th graders engaging in their first year of the Eureka! program at UMass (Rookies).
- 30 9th graders continuing with their second year of workshops at UMass (Vets).
- 30 10th graders working in individual “Externship” experiences throughout the area.
- 25 11th graders participating in community building activities and preparing for success in college.
- 20 12th graders going on college visits and supporting each other throughout the college application process.
- 140 instructors (faculty, post-docs, graduate students, undergrads) engaging in various ways in Eureka! instructional activities.
- The Dean of the College of Natural Sciences, providing leadership and staffing to support the development of the UMass-Girls Inc. collaboration and joint fundraising activities.
- The Recreation Center, providing classes in Zumba, Yoga, Spinning, Healthy Body Image and more, along with personalized health and wellness journals for each girl.
- UMass Dining services (Ranked #1 Best Campus Food in America in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020), providing discounted lunches and presenting hands-on workshops on how to make sushi, making smart meal choices, and the science of baking.
- UMass Information Technology, providing training and support in the use of computer classrooms and technology.
- UMass Libraries, the Digital Media Lab, and the 3-D Printing Innovation Center, providing access to resources and equipment, as well as workshops and technical training in their use.
- University News & Media Office, documenting progress as the Eureka! collaboration continues and as the Eureka! scholars progress through the program.
There are many ways faculty and students can get involved with the Eureka Program.
- Run a Summer Workshop in July
- Host a Eureka! Saturday Workshop (one each month throughout the school year)
- Host a Summer Job Shadow Extern
- Build Eureka! Into Your Grant Proposal
- During the month of July, Eureka Scholars “Rookies,” rising 8th grade girls and “Vets,” rising 9th grade girls, spend each day on the UMass Amherst campus, immersed in STEM workshops, health and wellness activities, and personal development classes.
- UMass faculty, staff and students volunteer to lead 1 to 2 day workshops (2 hours per day) for Rookies, and 2 to 4 day workshops (2 hours per day) for Vets.
- Instructor Orientation and Training sessions are offered in February and March to help instructors tailor their workshops to their specific audience, to understand the cognitive developmental stage of the girls, and to provide networking and mentoring opportunities for veteran instructors.
- NOTE: Due to the pandemic, Summer 2021 workshops will be held either virtually (science kits will be sent to girls) and/or outdoors (masked and socially distanced) in the Girls Inc. Teen Center parking lot in Holyoke or at various green spaces in Holyoke. Trainings specific to these modes of delivery will be held in May.
- Throughout the school year, Eureka Scholars continue to meet monthly, on campus and at locations throughout the area, to continue exploring STEM activities and preparing for college life. UMass faculty are welcomed to participate throughout the year in these workshops.
- NOTE: In 2020 and 2021 Saturday workshops have been held virtually
Host an Extern
- Mentor a fourth-year Eureka! scholar during a job shadow experience in your lab. Share your STEM expertise with a Eureka! Extern, 20 hours per week, for four weeks in July. Email us at email@example.com to learn more. (NOTE: Externships have been virtual in 2020 and 2021)
Build Eureka! Into Your Grant Proposal
- Do you want to include the Eureka! program as part of your grant proposal’s broader impacts section?
- Schedule a meeting with us! firstname.lastname@example.org
- We will meet with you to review your ideas, talk about the budget, provide sample language and coordinate with Girls Inc. for letters of support.
- Ensure a meaningful experience for the students and an exciting application of your research that has real, transformative impact..
Eureka! STEM Workshops summer dates
- July 12, 2021 – August 6, 2021, Summer STEM Workshops will be held either virtually (science kits will be sent to girls) and/or outdoors (masked and socially distanced) in the Girls Inc of the Valley Teen Center parking lot or at various green spaces in Holyoke.
- Friday, August 6, 2021 – Eureka-Thon Virtual Celebration in Holyoke – Eureka Scholars teach family, friends, community members and their instructors what they learned in their Eureka workshops through posters and oral presentations.
Eureka! Workshops Information
Sample of Past Workshops
- "Building with Macaroni: Why Buildings Don't Fall Down"
- "Build Your Own Solar Cell"
- "Can a Cow Charge Your Phone? Can a River Toast Your Bagel?"
- “Forensic Geology: The Sands of Crime”
- “PLOP” Fluid Dynamics and the Egg Drop”
- "Could Robots Replace Our Brains?"
- "3D Printing: Making Your World"
- "The Buzz About Bumble Bees"
- "The Chemistry of Baking"
Workshop Creation Resources
- 5 Year Eureka Overview_2020
- 22 Is it SMART Questions
- Developmental Needs of Teens
- Emoji Eval Blank
- Tips for a Great Workshop
- Workshop Feedback from Girls
- Workshop Lesson Plan Template
- Eureka! Moment (MassLive/Springfield Republican, August 2019)
- Gift Brings Eureka! Moments to a New Generation of Scientists (College of Natural Sciences website feature, September 2018)
- Girls Inc. Inspires Members to Be Strong, Smart, and Bold (BusinessWest, February 2018)
- Environmental Health Sciences faculty members inspire girls to pursue STEM learning (UMass Amherst SPHHS, August 2014)
- Eureka! Gets Tough With Invasive Species, July 2015 (MassLive/Springfield Republican, July 2015)
- Governor Deval Patrick visits Eureka! July 2014 (MassLive/Springfield Republican, July 2015)
- Eureka’s First Summer at UMass ((MassLive/Springfield Republican, July 2013)
Christine Hatch, UMass Extension Associate Professor
Jane Markarian, CNS Special Projects and Outreach