October 28, 2021
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Free program inspiring middle school girls in Science & Technology

October 15, 2021

The Girls Tinker Academy is expanding again in 2021 to include a four-day winter break program for up to 24 middle schoolers. Girls Tinker Academy engages participants in “maker” activities that encourage the exploration and development of technical, mathematical, and artistic abilities. The program is intended for girls including gender-expansive youth currently in 7th-9th grades, but all students are welcome to apply.

The free academy is aimed at introducing participants to coding, modeling, crafting, sewing, and building. Led by Natalie Hobson, mathematics associate professor at Sonoma State University, the participants take part in fun activities and challenges at the state-of-the-art maker space at Sonoma State University. 

The past two academies in spring 2021 and summer 2020 have been virtual, so program staff are excited to be offering an in-person experience this winter to keep kids engaged in learning in a fun, stress-free manner. 

“We’re thrilled to be able to offer the in-person program again,” said Natalie Hobson, program lead. “The hands-on nature of the challenges and lessons we tackle during the session helps bond these girls and get them excited about STEM. All of the activities are aimed at helping them gain a real understanding of how things work.” 

“Data shows that women are still underrepresented in the STEM workforce, and we know that it starts as early as middle school when girls’ interest and confidence begin to wane,” stated CTE Foundation CEO Kathy Goodacre. “We launched Girls Tinker Academy in 2018 to address this disparity and build confidence in girls and help them learn how STEM education and careers are a viable path for girls. We love how popular this program has become and appreciate all of the donors who allow us to offer this valuable program at no charge to our community.” 

The Girls Tinker Academy is the flagship program of Community WISE (Women Investing in STEM Equity), an initiative of Career Technical Education (CTE) Foundation. Community WISE is a volunteer coalition of local employers, education institutions, students and community leaders working to identify and invest in engaging learning opportunities that inspire and prepare more young women and girls to pursue STEM education and careers. 

To learn more about the program, visit