Eureka! at UMass Amherst
Eureka! is an innovative five-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 postsecondary 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.
Years three through five provide the Eureka! scholars with individual externships at UMass and throughout the region, community building activities, college visits, and mentoring throughout their college application process. This long-term, sustained involvement supports girls in STEM as they pursue postsecondary 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.
- 30 eighth graders engaging in their first year of the Eureka! program at UMass (rookies)
- 30 ninth graders continuing with their second year of workshops at UMass (vets)
- 30 tenth graders working in individual “externship” experiences throughout the area
- 25 eleventh graders participating in community building activities and preparing for success in college
- 20 twelfth 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!), 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, 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, 30 “rookies,” or rising eighth graders, and 30 “vets,” or rising ninth graders, spend each week 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 one- and two-day workshops (two hours per day) for rookies, and two- to four-day workshops (two hours per day) for vets.
- Instructor orientation and training sessions are offered in February and March to help instructors tailor their workshops to this audience of young learners, understand the cognitive developmental stage of the scholars, network with veteran instructors, and collaborate with instructors from other disciplines.
- Throughout the school year, Eureka Scholars meet monthly, on campus and at locations throughout the area, to continue exploring STEM activities and preparing for college life. UMass faculty and student science clubs and organizations are welcome to participate throughout the year in these workshops.
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 eureka [at] umass [dot] edu to learn more.
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! eureka [at] umass [dot] edu
- 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 a real, transformative impact.
Eureka! STEM Workshops Summer Dates
- Eureka! summer workshops will be held June 26 through July 21, 2023 on the UMass Amherst campus.
- Each year, on the final Friday of the summer workshops, a “Eureka-Thon” virtual celebration is held in Holyoke. Eureka scholars are celebrated as they teach family, friends, community members and their instructors what they learned in their Eureka workshops through posters and oral presentations.
Eureka! Workshops Information
Samples 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 Bees”
- “The Chemistry of Baking”
Workshop Creation Resources
- 5 Years of Eureka! Overview
- 22 Is it SMART Questions
- Developmental Needs of Teens
- Emoji Eval Blank
- Tips for a Great Workshop
- Workshop Lesson Plan Template