The center has always understood that the lack of women of color in STEM is a systemic issue and that therefore the solution has to impact the entire system as a whole — the main focus couldn’t be niche but had to be far-reaching. 

“It was never about moving the needle at ASU; it was always about moving the needle nationally and globally,” McDerrmott said.

This points to a unique aspect of the center: its ability to not only pull in experts and incredible leaders from all over ASU, but to be able to do the same from all over the country and develop strong working relationships with industry professionals.

"Throughout my time with the center it taught me how important it is for people like myself who sit within the policy beltway of the D.C. area, how important it is to actually reach back and reach in and hear from folks who are really close to the ground to make sure that we are putting out policy that is relevant to local populations,” said Nicol Turner-Lee, senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution who has collaborated with Scott over the past decade.

Gabriela González of Intel has also worked with Scott and the center for many years and says that “they’re a formidable engineer for girls research, particularly for underserved communities ... who informs policy, programmatic outreach and private industry on what works and what doesn’t work.”

These partnerships and collaborations are what allow the center to extend its reach and allow girls to strive for a career in STEM. For example, Mitzi Vilchis was a part of the CompuGirls programming in 2009, worked with Scott as a research assistant while pursuing her degree at ASU, and then went on to teach similar programming to CompuGirls in Mexico for two years with the Fulbright program. Mitzi is currently an English language development teacher at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix.

"My life path has changed so much in a positive way, and thanks to this program and the center I am able to see a future that I never imagined before,” Mitzi said.

To view the full testimonial series and see what past staff, partners and participants have to say about the center, check out its YouTube channel and Instagram profile.

The center's programming is primarily funded through educational grants with organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the U.S. departments of Education and Defense, as well as community organizations that include Intel, Arizona Community Foundation and Helios Educational Foundation. If you are interested in supporting the center through funding, please visit the center's page on the ASU Foundation website.

Julianne Culey

Communications Specialist, Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technology