Project Profile

GUTS y Girls


GUTS y Girls is a three-year ITEST Strategies project targeting middle school girls in Santa Fe, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque, New Mexico. This project builds on a previously funded NSF Academies for Young Scientist award (06-39637) and includes partnerships between the Santa Fe Institute and MIT, University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, New Mexico State University, Santa Fe Complex, Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails, the Supercomputing Challenge, regional educational organizations, and local schools. GUTS y Girls is designed to build the STEM and ICT workforce by engaging girls in exciting cyber-enabled learning experiences that prepare them for future careers, create and study a network of support using social networking tools, and develop a replicable program model. Project deliverables include Monthly Saturday Workshops and two-week Summer Intensive Workshops. The 7-hour Saturday workshops expose girls to a wide variety of STEM/ICT jobs and professionals while engaging them in creative projects that build their confidence. During the two-week Summer Intensive Workshop, girls gain an understanding of complex systems concepts through hands-on activities and participatory simulations. Participants investigate topics of local relevance, view them through the lens of complex systems, and then apply agent-based modeling and network analysis tools. By fostering an understanding of complex systems and developing girls' computational thinking, computer programming, computational modeling, critical thinking, and spatial skills, GUTS y Girls prepares participants for a wide range of STEM and ICT fields including computer science, ecology, engineering, and mathematics. GUTS y Girls' secondary strategy is to develop and study a support system for girls by creating a virtual clubhouse using social networking to communicate with female STEM/ICT practitioners and student mentors. All project activities are designed to support the New Mexico state standards in science and math for grades 5-8.


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Principal Investigator(s)


Award Number
Project Duration
2010 - 2014
Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM
Target Gradespan(s)
Middle school (6-8)
High school (9-12)
Project Setting(s)
Informal Education
Geographic Location(s)
Project Status
Additional Disciplines
Computer Science - general skills and mathematics
Additional Target Participants