Kara Branch, a Houston-based engineer, inspires Black girls to learn more about STEM, which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. She founded the nonprofit Black Girls Do Engineer in 2019 to provide them with mentorship, education and resources to learn more about this space.

“The organization’s goal is to really provide representation and exposure to girls in our community, to get them excited about STEM,” Branch said during an appearance on ABC13. “This is our way to give back to them what we wish people would have done for us when we were younger.”

Since its inception, the membership program has served 2500 girls in Houston, the flagship location, and other chapters in Los Angeles and New Orleans. It accepts 60 girls each year, from kindergarten to college-aged members.

“I’ve watched these girls grow up since 2019,” Branch said. “I’ve been able to see them come in curious about STEM, not really knowing what they’re getting into, to being very confident about what they want to get into in their STEM careers and also watch them get into college and the workforce.”

The program, which takes place from October to May, focuses on hands-on activities such as coding and learning about artificial intelligence, energy, science and medicine.

The founder says it has a 100% college acceptance rate and that $44,000 in college scholarships have been awarded since 2019.

Branch adds that she was inspired by her daughter, who expressed wanting to become a software engineer when she was 9. 

“I knew I had to create a space for girls who look like her, who have the same passion and to come together and do what they love,” the founder said.

She was also inspired by her own experience working as a chemical engineer across multiple industries, such as oil and gas, aerospace and tech. Branch saw a lack of representation in the field and was driven to make that change. 

“I’ve always been the only Black woman in all my roles, and so I knew I had to do something to make that change,” she said. “With that passion and knowing that my girls were out there wanting to do this, I had to go find them. It just drove me to keep going. That’s how I do it every day.”