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GiSTEM Turns FOUR!

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

We couldn’t let January end without celebrating GiSTEM Inc’s fourth birthday! From 2019 to now, we have grown tremendously, and the organization has thrived in the last three years. In 2022, we expanded our past programs and introduced new offerings. We are excited to share a recap of our 2022 year in this blog.


We kicked off our 2022 year with our first GiSTEMChats segment, “Celebration of Women & Girls in Science!” We interviewed two scientists and nonprofit leaders - Eisha Clyde of The HBCU STEMulus and Shyretha Brown of Building Bridges. From discussing what it is like to be women scientists to mighty nonprofit leaders, the chat was filled with so many great nuggets. These ladies demonstrated what it means to be change agents and enthusiastically push the next generation of STEM professionals. GiSTEM had an additional six chats during the year from amazing people. The chats included professionals from companies and universities such as AskBio, Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Purdue University, George Mason University, Virginia Department of Conservation, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. We concluded the series interviewing 9 diverse professionals. If you missed any chats, you could always check them out on our website.




In March 2022, our GiSTEMpact program got underway. We partnered with R.E.A.L Girlz, an organization that provide a safe space for girls to elevate their voices and believe in their greatness. If you are not familiar with our GiSTEMpact program, it’s how we impact the community through partnerships with other organizations to facilitate STEM workshops that further expose middle and high school students to STEM concepts. In May 2022, we participated in two events with the National Urban League – Richmond Chapter and Communities in Schools. We ended our GiSTEMpact season by working with RISE 4 Youth. They are committed to dismantling the youth prison model and ensuring every space that impacts a young person’s life encourages growth and success. With innovation being the focus of the session, the participants showed how creative they were during the Catapult to Success Challenge. Over the year, GiSTEM inspired and interacted with 60+ youth.


In the third quarter of 2022, we launched a new program called GiSTEM Ambassadors. Early in their STEM journey, exemplary GiSTEM participants are hired as paid brand ambassadors. They assist with GiSTEM programs, build their resume skills, and expand their networks while supporting the GiSTEM organization. We had the pleasure of welcoming Sumaya Ga’al as our first ambassador as she begins her journey as a first-generation college student. “It has been an exciting experience having Sumaya working with us as an ambassador, and I am honored that our team has the opportunity to continue to watch her grow throughout her journey,” said LaToya Mayfield, President of GiSTEM.


In July, we had our second GiSTEM Week 2022 (GW2022)! To build on our inaugural year of the program, we added a new key subject area to our STEM week – business. The theme was “Girls Revolutionize,” and we focused on the importance of sustainability in STEM and business. The GW2022 participants worked in groups to deliver solutions that would improve federal fleet operations. A few of the project requirements included: (1) reviewing fleet data to evaluate performance based on alternative fuel usage, (2) identifying best practices - areas of weakness and opportunities for improvement, and (3) determining if any existing alternative fuel infrastructure was available or if new infrastructure was required. Throughout the week, participants were able to interact with women professionals from various organizations that shared the importance of sustainability in their work. Below is a list of the roles and organizations that participated in GiSTEM Week 2022:

  • Project Manager, Onyx Strategic Solutions

  • Senior Financial Analyst, Amazon

  • Sustainability Specialist, UVA Office for Sustainability

  • Register Nurse, Carilion Clinic

  • Scientist, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division

  • Sustainability Lab Manager, UVA Office for Sustainability

  • Product Manager, Microsoft

  • Technology Manager Digitalization, Shell Global Solutions

  • Retired Engineer, Dominion Energy

  • Director of Operations & Delivery, Dominion Energy

  • PE LEED Green Associate Energy & Sustainability Engineer, UVA Office for Sustainability

  • Cloud Sales Enablement Program Manager, Google


Our participants had the opportunity to experience new activities through the week to help with their development during the week such as public speaking with VCU Toastmasters, girls empowerment session with Clarissa Law and mindfulness session with Yoga Joy. From the interactive session to the group projects, the participants were challenged to think outside the box and learn how to think critically. On the last day, the program participants presented their capstone project poster to their family, GiSTEM Week sponsors, the Board Members, and a panel of judges. Each group did a phenomenal job utilizing the tips gained from their public speaking session with VCU Toastmasters and speakers throughout the week. As we prepare for GiSTEM Week 2023, all interested girls, rising 8th - 12th grade are encouraged to apply.

Lastly, we would like to thank every sponsor, speaker, community leader, volunteer and supporter that provided their time, resources, and donations to our organization. Without you, we would not be able to continue our mission to pour into the next generation. This year we are committed to expanding and reaching new heights.


We are excited to announce our upcoming program with Microsoft called “Thinking Big with Big Data.” This event will take place on October 02, 2023, for 200 Richmond Public School Students (8th - 12th grade). If you are interested in your school participating in this event, please contact LaToya Mayfield at latoya.mayfield@gistem.onmicrosoft.com. We cannot wait to share this year’s success with you on our next birthday post in 2024. Stay tuned!

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Are you a rising 8th - 12th grader curious to know what it's like to be a woman STEM or Business Professional? Apply for our Virtual STEM Summer Program - GiSTEM Week 2023. We are accepting sixteen (16) girls for our 2023 program. Click here to apply!


Interested in volunteering at GiSTEM? Sign up here.


Specials thanks to our Sponsors & Partners:






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