By Nia W
When I first started coming to GIRL, I had only been living in the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area for about a year after moving from Rochester, Minnesota. I was dealing with low self-esteem and confidence about myself and was not yet aware of my interest in STEM. I then got to meet the mother of Mrs. Danielle B. Craddock, the director of GIRL, who welcomed my mother and me with open arms and would ask me how I was doing in school and in my classes. The girls I met were welcoming as well. After we had introduced ourselves, we would do group activities that would get us girls to network and get to know each other more. Throughout the process, we discovered that we had similar goals and interests, such as STEM and the performing arts. After many meetings and GIRL sponsored events, we started building relationships with each other and still keep in touch to this day. At the end of the meetings, I would always leave uplifted and a little bit more confident about myself. The director, Mrs. Craddock, saw my potential and encouraged me to continue participating in more meetings and events. The level of love and encouragement that both the director and her mother bestowed to me motivated me to excel in school, specifically in my STEM classes, and as the years passed, I started to become more involved with GIRL by being one of the teen council members who helped plan events and activities. With my involvement with GIRL, my confidence continued to rise, and I was able to put myself in new environments and introduce myself to my peers and professionals with confidence.
During my four years with GIRL, I have become more confident within myself and have continued to discover more about my interests in STEM, and that interest opened the door to opportunities to travel to different states to participate in STEM programs that increased my interest in mathematics, science, and computer science. Being involved with GIRL helped me with my networking, creativity, and speaking skills. I also got to meet many African-American women who were in different STEM professions, which was inspiring to me because I then had examples of women who looked like me who majored and were in careers in STEM that I was interested in and wanted to pursue.