BRITE Online Summer STEM Program - Building Relevance and Identity to Transform Experiences

Brite began as a pilot in 2020 in partnership with the World Science Festival and The Hello Studios. During the World Science Festival in the summer of 2020, the program provided a high-quality, online suite of activities centered on collaborative learning with female role models.

After an intense evaluation process, NGCP revised Brite in 2021, which consisted of two courses: Art x Science, featuring role models and activities at the intersection of Art and Science, and Dream Big, Take Risks, featuring role models and activities that introduced girls to pioneering, multi-disciplinary careers in STEM.  

As of mid-2022, NGCP has continued to study STEM identity development through the Brite Program via a National Science Foundation award: BRITE Girls Online STEM Practices: Building Relevance and Identity to Transform Experiences, led by Florida State University.


Brite is an online*, interdisciplinary STEM program centered on hands-on and collaborative activities and daily interaction with diverse women STEM role models. Brite is offered by Smart Girls HQ, in partnership with the National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) through funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The local Brite program is a collaboration between the Women In STEM (WISTEM) Center at MTSU, led by Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross, Director - Department of Chemistry, and the South Sudanese Girls Empowerment Front (SSGEF) led by MTSU alum Nyaruot Kier Deng.

Brite will be offered as a three-week summer STEM program for 10-20 girls ages 13-16. The program will include virtual workshops showcasing role models and a field trip to MTSU. The program will be Monday - Thursday, 3 hours daily, from July 10 - July 27, 2023, featuring interdisciplinary themes related to computer science, physical science, engineering, etc. The focus is on girls of color from historically excluded groups, and each girl will receive a tablet during the program.

This research study is being conducted by Roxanne Hughes, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Integrating Research and Learning, along with Dr. Qian Zhang, from Florida State University. They are studying the effects of the Brite Program on participants’ interest in STEM, attitudes toward STEM, and sense of motivation to persist in STEM. The grant was awarded to SSGEF for 2 years. 

The first week, starting July 10, is assigned to computer science. The girls will listen to a pre-selected role model from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. on Monday - Wednesday. They will have an hour before the talk and an hour after for open programming time. On Thursday, the blocked-out time will be from 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. The open programming time will be before and after this session. 

Brite will consist of three courses across three weeks:

  • Week 1 - July 10, 11, 12, and 13: Code, Create, Collaborate, featuring role models and activities that introduce girls to careers in computer science.

  • Week 2 - July 17, 18, 19, and 20: Dream, Design, Discover, featuring role models and activities that introduce girls to careers in engineering.

  • Week 3 - July 24, 25, 26, and 27: Investigate, Innovate, Inspire, featuring role models and activities that introduce girls to careers in physical sciences.

Central Program Goals:

  • Foster STEM identity: Perceived competence in STEM and self-recognition as a “STEM person.”
  • Build a community of girl learners and a support network among them.
  • Spark curiosity and creativity.

*Brite can be a hybrid for programs that hold in-person programming for girls in their group. All participating programs would still join online for the live role model talks, and girls would still use the platform to share projects and engage with peers and role models


  • 10-20 self-identifying girls ages 13-16. Girls must be 13 at the start of the program for privacy purposes.
  • Focus recruitment on self-identifying girls of color who have been historically excluded from STEM, including Black, Latina, and Indigenous girls.


  • July 10-27, 2023, Monday-Thursday over these three weeks.

  • 3 hours of planned programming each day with a live role model talk each day.

    Note about the Daily Schedule:
    Programming can be scheduled per each Brite Group’s/program’s needs. However, the live role model talks (Brite Talks and Brite Fest) will always be held live on the Brite Platform at the same time each day.

  • Brite Talks: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Central Time

  • Brite Fest: Thursday from 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Central Time

Local activities:

  • Saturday, July 8, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., orientation and tablet distribution
  • Saturday, July 15, Field Trip to MTSU
  • Saturday, July 22, Cosmetic Lab
  • Saturday, July 29, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., closing party and tablet return.

Twitter Icon   Facebook Icon   YouTube Icon

Insight into Diversity Logo

Dr. Freneka Minter, Melissa Flowers, and Sharonese Henderson

Dr. Freneka Minter, WISTEM mentor and council member, was one of the two science and technology panelists at the Black Girls in STEAM Summit. WISTEM supported the summit by donating STEM related swag for the goody bags. WISTEM council members, Melissa Flowers and Sharonese Henderson, attended the event.

Read the full story!

View other news