About the Founder
Meet the founder:
Sriya Tallapragada is a leader who is driven by connection and community. She started GirlsWhoSTEAM back in 2020 after observing some of the issues women face in leadership that were highlighted by the pandemic. Since then, she has been able to organically grow GirlsWhoSTEAM into a community-based 501(c)3 nonprofit. Her work focuses on youth empowerment and education, which is the cornerstone of the programs that GirlsWhoSTEAM offers. She also uses her dedication to youth empowerment as a student journalist, commenting on educational inequality and social justice.
I was originally inspired to start Girls Who STEAM after the pandemic, after I had a chance to reflect on issues that face women, including ways I saw them reflected in my own community. I wanted to use my passion for storytelling to highlight the voices of women and provide others with resources. That was how we started, and it is crazy to think of the way my dream has grown with the help of so many people and communities.
The issues facing women are a widely recognized issue, and alot of orginaztions are actively working in the fight to close it. However, while many focus on empowerment and financial support to adult women, fighting it through the lens of a workforce, this organization tries to stop it by starting young. We connect with children across the world to essentially be a free supplement to most standardized education curriculum, advocating for giving them a stronger education in STEM and financial literacy, as well as mental health workshops and career events. We value the hands-on approach in fostering active learners. One of our signature events has been our pitch competition. The idea behind it is relatively simple… teens would submit their plans for a startup addressing issues that they were passionate about. All will then have the opportunity to be graded by a cohort of judges, who will then award the top three winners with prizes and recognition. All participants will leave with custom feedback and an idea for a potential business plan. Submissions ranged from the idea of starting a bilingual children’s book business to creating a community that provided resources for mothers. We were able to inspire these younger girls by giving them something most other places would not offer; a chance to exercise real-world skills despite their age.
Our project focuses on impacting in ways that are both big and small; we focus on reaching as many girls as possible and work on developing life-long mentorship with those interested. We believe that this is mobilizing the next generation of leaders and changemakers.
At the end of the day, our work serves as a reminder that there always is the power of women's mentorship. After I complete major projects in my organization, I receive some letters, emails, and DM's from excited participants with a newfound interest in this subject. Whether this is 7-year-old girls excited about the new slime they created or college students with a determination to stick with their STEM major, it is very gratifying to know my mission and goal have been attained.
student at the Pingry School in Basking Ridge, NJ
- Sriya Tallapragada