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Program Spotlight: Eureka!

Eureka! is a results-based, career exploration and development program for rising 8th to 12th grade girls. Eureka! promotes confidence, sisterhood, and college/career readiness for girls of color from disinvested areas in/around Oakland. Because girls, especially girls of color, lack exposure and encouragement to enter STEAM fields, Eureka! intentionally provides girl-centered STEAM programming. Eureka! includes field trips to tech companies, introductions to women leaders in STEAM, and academic planning toward STEAM professions.  

All five years of Eureka programming occurs after school at Girls Inc. of Alameda County’s Simpson Center for Girls, aside from summer programming, which takes place at Cal State East Bay.  In their first two years, Eurekans work on building their foundational knowledge of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and STEAM-related careers by engaging in hands-on job-readiness workshops that prepare them to be placed in summer internships.  In grades 10 – 11, Eurekans engage in paid summer internships at some of the Bay Area’s most prestigious organizations, including Deloitte, Google, Rakuten, and PG&E as well as legal and architectural offices. Girls receive real world work experience that many would not have access to—or have even dreamed of—prior to Girls Inc. Finally, in grades 11 – 12, Eurekans and their families engage in intensive college readiness activities–they go on college tours, take SAT prep classes, and receive guidance in completing college applications, financial aid forms, and pursuing scholarship opportunities.  

8th – 12th grade Eureka! participants have the opportunity of attending summer programming at Cal State East Bay, utilizing top-of-the line amenities like the campus sports and pool complexes, science labs and classrooms. Students experience a lot of firsts, here, like learning to swim, participating in science experiments like dissecting a fish and even learning to swim!  Experiencing daily life in a university setting allows our girls to envision similar things for their own futures and enables them to practice positive risk-taking in a safe space.   

Over the course of their five years, Eurekans!: 

  • Build foundational knowledge for and interest in STEAM and non-traditional careers  
  • Learn job readiness skills, including financial literacy, resume writing, interviewing, workplace communication, and professional conduct  
  • Engage in career exploration and career skills development through paid summer internships and field trips  
  • Benefit from mentorships with women of color in STEAM and non-traditional fields and learn the art of networking, and  
  • Prepare for postsecondary education, with college tours and guidance on admissions requirements, college applications, and financial aid  

The program was introduced by Girls Inc. of Alameda County in 1994, and because of its success, it has since been adopted by more than 25 Girls Inc. affiliates across the nation.