Archive for September, 2009

Changing Girls’ Lives

Special thanks to Rob Cunningham and FOX7 Austin for creating Girlstart’s new video!

September 25, 2009 at 8:32 pm Leave a comment

Girlstart Welcomes New Executive Director, Tamara Hudgins

Girlstart Announces New Executive Director
Girlstart, an award-winning, Austin-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), welcomes Tamara Hudgins in the role of Executive Director. Tamara will begin work for Girlstart on Oct. 1, 2009.
The search for a new Executive Director of Girlstart began earlier this year when founder Rachel Muir resigned to become the new Executive Director of Mother’s Milk Bank. During the search the organization was led on an interim basis by Julie Shannan, who will be returning to her former role of Girlstart Deputy Director upon Tamara’s arrival.
Tamara moved to Texas in 2005. Since 2006 she has been the Executive Director of the Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation (formerly Georgetown Area Community Foundation), a Georgetown, Texas-based community foundation that streamlines and supports the charitable giving process by connecting donors with giving vehicles and information.
During her tenure at Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation, Tamara brought new members to the organization’s board, completed a successful re-branding of the organization, achieved fivefold growth in donations over three and a half years, and secured the gift of a historic building on the main square of Georgetown for the community foundation’s permanent home. She also secured confirmation that the foundation was in compliance with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, which sets the standards for accreditation of community foundations. Tamara led the foundation’s day-to-day operations including staff management, budget oversight, fundraising efforts and strategic planning.
Before relocating to the Austin area, Tamara worked for and consulted with organizations in Chicago and the Czech Republic. During her time in Chicago she was the Executive Director of Creating Pride, a nonprofit serving over 11,000 teachers and children. She holds M.A. and B.A. degrees in Art History from the Art Institute of Chicago and Ohio State University, respectively, and holds a Ph.D. in Art History from Charles University in Prague.
Programming has been and will continue to be a focus for Tamara. At the Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation Tamara directed the foundation’s civic initiatives and efforts to improve the quality of life for Williamson County residents. To date, she has effectively addressed three key issues the county faces: childhood hunger and nutrition, aging and early childhood development and childcare.
Tamara was voted in unanimously by the Girlstart Board of Directors. “The entire Board of Directors is excited that Tamara will join us as the new Executive Director,” said Betsy Blair, Board President. “We are confident that she will make an immediate and positive impact at Girlstart and lead us to even greater success inspiring girls in math, science and technology.”
Tamara’s concerns about women and education are similar to those that led founder and former Executive Director Rachel Muir to create the organization over 12 years ago. “Too often, girls are not encouraged to pursue careers involving technology and science. When girls learn that they can achieve in the fields of science and math, they develop a stronger belief that there are a variety of opportunities waiting for them in high school, college and beyond,” said Tamara. “Girlstart is about bringing girls together in a supportive environment where they can learn, explore and share. I look forward to joining Girlstart and furthering its mission to help girls in Austin thrive in these areas.” 
Girlstart programs taking place this fall include Club Girlstart and Community Science Extravaganzas. Club Girlstart helps 4th to 8th graders master the scientific method through intensive, informal science and technology education. Program activities, which are aligned with Texas curriculum requirements, are offered in an all-girl environment both after school and in conjunction with community and Internet-based activities that support the exploration of science and technology. Community Science Extravaganzas create an opportunity for the entire family to participate in hands-on STEM exploration activities. An upcoming event is the Spooky Science Extravaganza, which will be held on October 24th at Virginia L. Brown Recreation Center. Girls and families will explore the biology of owls, chemistry of dry ice, and the science behind a few Halloween mysteries at this free community science event.

September 25, 2009 at 8:27 pm Leave a comment

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