GALS NC was founded in 2016 by us – four female PhD students in the Biology and Ecology programs at Duke University. We believe that there is a lack of free, hands-on, place-based science programs available for students who don’t identify as male, students of color, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and other groups underrepresented in fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). We created GALS NC to address this need by providing enhanced science learning opportunities for students to engage with science in an outdoor setting. The advantages of learning science beyond the walls of a classroom include being fully immersed in the subject matter in new and engaging ways. We believe that the challenges of living in the outdoors also enables students to achieve personal growth, become strong team members, and develop leadership skills. GALS NC is now run by Catawba College and Frog Hollow Outdoors.
The first season of GALS was run in summer 2017 in North Carolina with one 2-week session for 8 participants. After an extremely successful summer with amazing young women, GALS NC expanded to include 3 sessions in North Carolina in June 2018, and several other GALS programs affiliated with other universities began in other states.