We are STEAMers

We globally enlighten and inspire girls to pursue STEAM Entrepreneurship and Leadership to make the world a better place.

What is STEAM?

Girls STEAM Institute™
Our Philosophy

We cultivate the world’s future leaders, today. We introduce girls to immersive technologies like AR, VR, AI as tools for leaders who can handle future challenges.

Despite accounting for over half of the college-educated workforce, women makes up only 29% of those employed in science and engineering occupations. We are here to change that.

Women own less than 10% of startups in the world! Our entrepreneurial education cultivates the Tech Leaders of tomorrow to disrupt the unbalance.

Studies show that girls who participate in the performing arts and sports develop self-awareness and leadership attributes which are important traits as leaders and owners of businesses.

We create pathways for girls to receive mentorship on entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

In a Nutshell

ABOUT Girls STEAM Institute™

GSI uses Project-Based Learning (PBL) to teach girls how to ideate, innovate, and implement in a team setting to solve problems as entrepreneurs and leaders.

We employ Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to create tools for personal development such as leadership, critical and design thinking, team building, self-care, finance, and budgeting.

In partnership with the Virtual World Society, GSI embraces virtual STEAM Challenges, using VR to connect, learn, and engage in creating solutions to real-world problems.

We are working with the United Nations on three Sustainable Development Goals through 2030 to introduce our STEAMers to the important issues of Climate Change, Civic Duty, and Personal, Physical and Mental Health.

Girls STEAM Institute™ Empowering Leaders in STEAM

In 2014, Diane McClelland and Suzanne Lackman had a vision: Empower young girls to become entrepreneurial leaders in STEAM. They launched their first STEAM Challenge through a nonprofit women’s organization they founded and helmed, and three years later spun their highly successful girls entrepreneurship program into its own nonprofit: The Girls STEAM Institute™.

Since its inception, the STEAM Challenge has inspired hundreds of young girls ages 13-18 to pursue leadership roles in STEAM. Our graduates have become inspirational leaders in their communities, schools, and business. They are YOUNGA UN Ambassadors, are in Forbes 30 Under 30, and have authored a book.

Our girls have reached high for their education and professional goals, going to MIT, working at NASA, starting their own companies, and winning professional awards. Even while in high school, many have founded community and school organizations to help spread leadership and entrepreneurial skills to their classmates, promoting the value of an integrated education including Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Athletics, and Mathematics.

Some of our graduates have even returned to us to serve on our Board.

Our Vision

Enlighten and inspire girls globally to pursue S.T.E.A.M. entrepreneurship and leadership.

Our Mission

Build a sustainable global pipeline for inspiring and empowering girls to pursue innovation as STEAM entrepreneurs.

Our Values

Fortune favors the bold. We empower our STEAMers to steam ahead against all obstacles.

We believe true leaders are ones who bring everyone together for a common goal. We cultivate leadership skills by empowering our STEAMers.

Serving the community is prime importance for us.

We see diversity as the prime factor of richness in our work and in our community. GSI is dedicated in breaking barriers and give EVERY girl the opportunity to pursue their potential.

We believe in new solutions to old problems. Our STEAMers think outside of the box in making the world a better place.

Our STEAMers value Integrity above all else. We understand that true competition is within ourselves, more than any other external factor. We push our potential while never departing from integrity.

Our Leadership

We are the leading organization globally empowering girls to advance in STEAM entrepreneurship and leadership. We make that happen with a world-class leadership team.

We bring a wealth of skills and experience from global backgrounds

Girls STEAM Institute™ is proud to have a team of Board of Directors who bring diversity of race, gender, age, industry and geography with experience to mentor young girls from various perspectives.

The Development Committee is responsible to identify funding services, resources, partnerships which culminate in providing assistance in financially supporting the overall growth of programs for its constituents. Girls STEAM Institute™ has a fundraising platform, Network For Good, which is used for fundraising campaigns for sponsorships and individual donations.

  • Kate Edwards
  • Billie Bryant Schultz
  • Kerri Norris
  • Sarah Park

The Marketing Committee is responsible for the branding and communication styles for the organization. This includes GSI website, social media, newsletter, brand guidelines and communication plan.

  • Rachel Bernstein
  • Deborah Todd
  • Lily Lei
  • Brooke Covington

The Programs Committee is responsible for the expanding of current programs and develop new options for programs to include online microlearning center, entrepreneurship team challenges, live streaming events, master classes given by experts in multiple industries, and offer programming using the latest technology of AR, VR, and mixed reality.

  • Kate Edwards
  • Tom Furness
  • Prabhleen Kaur
  • Arzu Ozbek
  • Melinda Shu
Advisory Boards
Billie Bryant Schultz
Jenny Xu
Rachel Bernstein
Dr. Judith Denery, Cana Technology

Get to know the Leaders

Diane McClelland

Diane McClelland is the Co-Founder and CEO of Girls STEAM Institute™. Girls S.T.E.A.M. Institute is a nonprofit which focuses on engaging young girls ages 13-18 to explore becoming a social entrepreneur in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math fields. We are a group of women business owners and subject matter experts impassioned to reach more girls to help mentor them to develop self-confidence, team building and leadership skills, and tools to build successful businesses. Our focus is to showcase how technology, interpersonal and relationship skills, and business acumen are necessary ingredients in becoming a successful STEAM entrepreneur.

She is the founder and former President and CEO of the Astra Society International and regional partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards is a unique hybrid of an applied geographer, writer, and content culturalization strategist with a passion for global cultures and media technologies. With broad experience in the fields of geography, cartography, geopolitics and cross-cultural issues, she is a recognized thought leader in the information industry as related to inclusive representation, content management, and cross-cultural impacts of information and globalization.

She is an award-winning Advocate, Forbes’ Women 50 Over 50 List, Speaker, Advisor, Geographer and Culturalization Innovator at Geogrify, CXO/Co-Founder at SetJetters, Former Executive Director of the Global Game Jam and IGDA, and former Microsoft geopolitical strategist and now independent consultant for her company

Deborah Todd

Deborah Todd is the former Executive Board member of the Producers Guild of American, member of the WGA, PGA, ATA, G100, NASW, and Girls STEAM Institute™.

She is an award-winning writer, designer, producer, editor working with developers, studios, production houses, and publishers worldwide, and served as the Senior Director Content Development in Science.

Her innovative multimedia and multi-platform entertainment and transmedia development projects have explored the wide range of science including AI, astronomy, astrophysics, biology, biopharma, biotech, botany, chemistry, computer science, ecology, mathematics, neurobiology, environmental science and a wide range of life sciences.

She’s published over 30 game titles as the sole designer, writer, or producer. Three of the games have over 1 million users and were awarded Best Interactive Story, Best Educational Software, and Top 12 Titles of the Year.

Dr. Tom Furness

Dr. Tom Furness is co-founder of the Virtual World Society and considered the grandfather of VR. For over 60 years, he has been a leader in immersive technology innovations that have touched the lives of millions around the world.

He is a professor emeritus of the University of Washington’s Human Interface Technology Laboratory, one of the oldest XR labs in the world.

Dr. Angelina Dayton

Ed.D. Educational Administration and Leadership, University of the Pacific, 2009
M.A. Education, Stanford University, 1997
B.A. Cultural Anthropology, University of California at Berkeley, 1995
B.A. American Indian Studies, Northeastern State University, 2015

Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Virtual Reality Research Scientist
Virtual World Society, 2020-Present
Preparation, submission, review, and evaluation of government and sponsored research; usability
testing sessions and interviews; collaborating with external partners to manage UX research
Emerging Technology Consultant, Researcher and User Experience Designer
Dayton Consulting/The VR Lady, 2011-Present
25 years of experience in the large-scale deployment and mass adoption of emerging technology;
effective and efficient process management in complex educational and industry settings

Director of Programs
Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, 2009-2010
Facilitated leadership program for early and mid-career faculty; liaison in national, state, and
local organizations; served as subject matter expert for conference programs, publication, and
website; managed grant-making, reporting and allocation processes
Director, McNair Scholars Program
University of California, Merced and California State University, Stanislaus, 2008-2009
Collaborated with senior administration and faculty to cultivate opportunities for research;
identified low-income, first-generation, underrepresented undergraduate students to participate in
programmatic activities for successful application and acceptance to graduate programs
Information Systems Operator, Yolo County Housing Coalition, 2004-2005
Developed, maintained and deployed web-based integrated case management and reporting
system for HUD; evaluated the complex system within county homeless management systems;
conducted county-wide training and technical assistance; federal grant evaluation management
and compliance

Aspen Institute Tech Policy Fellow
Echoing Green Post- Graduate Public Service Fellow
Ronald E. McNair- Post-Baccalaureate Scholar

Tzutujil (Mayan)

Kerri Norris

Kerri Norris is a global professional specializing in international strategy development, strategic alliance building, and communications. Fluent in French and Spanish, she has worked with Fortune 500 companies, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organizations. During her tenure at Staples, Inc., Kerri built and led a strategic alliance valued at over 240 Million U.S. Dollars annually in the United States and which spanned fifty-one countries. In this role, she represented Staples at the U.S. Department of Commerce, United Nations, World Bank, Fortune 500 customers, embassies, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, where she served on the Global Business Committee.

Rachel Bernstein

Rachel Bernstein Executive Producer at Google. Rachel Bernstein is a video game designer and developer based in San Fransisco. Bernstein graduated from Princeton University with a degree in electrical engineering and computer science in 1987. After founding and running successful video game companies herself, Bernstein joined Electronic Arts and became an executive producer for Maxis, overseeing the development of the Wii version of MySims Agents and The Sims Medieval. Since 2013, Bernstein has served as an executive producer at Google for the Android Play Studio. She has been a speaker at many prestigious events and an author of two books.

Jeff McClelland

Jeff McClelland CEO, Kids Healthy Foods. Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the facilities services industry. Skilled in Negotiation, Business Planning, Consumer Products, Sales, and Team Building. Strong business development professional graduated from University of Oregon.

Billie Bryant Schultz

Billie Bryant Schultz is the CEO of CESCO and has led in transitioning the company from a service organization of used equipment to become a technology innovator in digital transformation for the printing and other technology industries today.

Meet our STEAMers

At Girls STEAM Institute™ we are aware that we are working with the future leaders of tomorrow! Our prime mission is to empower girls and unleash their true potential as they pursue their dreams.
Meet some of our STEAMers that we are proud to work with.

Our Programs

Our unique foundational approach is holistic and delves into developing new skills in communication, teamwork and leadership, which embrace change as the universal element needed for personal challenges which help all rise from mediocrity to excellence.

STEAM Challenge

The GSI STEAM Challenge unites girls from diverse backgrounds into small cohesive teams that address a specific themed event, and collaborate on entrepreneurial solutions. Over the course of two days, each team ideates solutions, creates a digital business, develops a SWOT analysis, designs a prototype application, and pitches their business to a panel of judges.

Every year we see young girls blossom into valuable leaders and respectful team members.

GSI provides a haven for girls to share ideas and work together to create solutions. Girls learn about building a business in the context of STEAM, and best of all, they develop a network of like-minded cohorts who accept them for who they are, and encourage them in all they want to be. They become empowered and validated leaders in our midst, and carry that forward into their lives.

Our girls consistently report that the STEAM Challenge is life-changing.

Their parents consistently echo their daughters’ sentiments.

Through GSI’s STEAM Challenge, parents frequently grow as much as the girls. When mothers and fathers see the brilliance of their daughters shine within the framework of our STEAM Challenge, they renew commitments to support their daughters to help them achieve their highest dreams.

The Girls STEAM Institute™ has developed an initiative to parallel with the United Nations three of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to adopt as projects to focus on as themes until 2030. 

The three goals GSI will adopt are:

  • Climate Change
  • Civic Duty
  • Personal physical and mental health

GSI will employ two methods to implement, process, and measure its results during each year. It uses Project-Based Learning (PBL) as a method to help girls experience ideation, innovation, and implementation of ideas as a team designed to solve problems as entrepreneurs in the areas of climate change. 

It uses Social Emotional Learning (SEL) as a technique to create tools for personal development such as leadership, critical and design thinking, team building, self-care, finance, and budgeting. 

Tool Kits for Entrepreneurs

We train and empower the best young STEAM Entrepreneurs through our tailored Tool Kits for Entrepreneurs™  and Team Entrepreneurial Challenges.

Leadership and Personal Development

We encourage and teach our girls to become servant leaders who give back to their communities. 
Our programs and events prepares our STEAMers for leadership now and for the challenges of tomorrow.

Training in VR and AI

We train our STEAMers in Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. We treat these terms as not some buzz-words, but we unveil the black box and show our STEAMers the engine, so that they can take the mantle forward.

Micro Online Learning Center

We use an interactive system of adaptive learning which, in short cracks of time, provides experience in critical thinking, math, unconscious bias, imposter syndrome, civics and money management, to name a few. The premise is teaching concepts which lead to new attitudes and habits of learning measured on mastery points and not grades.

Parent Connection

Taking part in our STEAM Challenge is a transformational experience. Parents have the opportunity to learn from business owners and industry leaders of the STEAM fields about the future opportunities for career and entrepreneurship. Parents play an important role in the Challenge activities, joining other parents learn about new trends, processes and entrepreneurial experiences that can enhance their abilities to mentor and support their daughters as they pursue STEAM opportunities.