of Greater Santa Barbara


Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara Names 2017 Strong, Smart, Bold Honorees


The Home Depot and to the Curie-osity Project have been named this year’s recipients of the 6th Annual Strong, Smart, and Bold Awards. The awards will be presented at Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara’s 16th Annual Celebration Luncheon, on Thursday, September 28th.

The Strong, Smart, and Bold Awards are presented annually to one Girls Inc. local corporate partner and one program partner that each embody the mission, vision, and values of Girls Inc. Honorees demonstrate an ongoing commitment to inspiring girls through their leadership, service, and support, and have a significant impact on the lives of girls, women, and our community as a whole. Philanthropist Stina Hans and the Raintree Foundation were honored in 2016.

The Home Depot

In March of this year, The Home Depot provided grant funding, paint, & over 50 volunteers from District 224 stores (Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Oxnard, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo and Atascadero) to help “refresh” the Santa Barbara Center interior. Each day, the center is home to over 150 girls in the Girls Inc. after-school and summer camp programs. Providing the Girls Inc. Experience means providing a safe, secure, and nurturing physical environment for girls. The Home Depot, in collaboration with other generous funders, painted the entire facility and gave the girls and the staff a renewed sense of pride in the center.

“Giving back is one of the core values of The Home Depot and a passion for our associates,” said Marcy L. Merzigian, district human resources manager for The Home Depot / Central Coast. “We love when we can take our skills and knowledge out of the aisles and into the community. It is especially exciting for our District to engage with Girl’s Inc. in mutual support of the development of “Strong, Smart, and Bold” women of all ages. We look forward to the continuation of a great partnership.”

The Girls Inc. Goleta Valley Center hosted The Home Depot’s Women in Leadership day-long training and development for female employees of the District 224 stores.

The Curie-osity Project

Led by Diana J. Arya, an assistant professor of literacy at UC Santa Barbara, the Curie-osity Project launched in 2017 as a collaborative Literacy & STEM program between Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara and the McEnroe Reading and Language Arts Clinic at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at UCSB. Arya is the Director of the McEnroe Clinic, and is a core researcher on the Lifespan Project, which explores the developmental processes of scientific and technical reading, writing, thinking, and doing.


The Curie-osity pilot program engaged girls in grades 4-6 in research and inquiry-based activities with women scientists and engineers within the Santa Barbra community. The girls were led by UCSB undergraduate students who facilitated the hands-on, minds-on activities at the university, all focused on the ultimate, collaborative goal of publishing a book about the interviewed women that have made significant contributions to their respective fields.

“It was thrilling to work with my colleagues Danielle (Harlow) and Jasmine (McBeath) in the creation of a program that empowers young female students to imagine themselves as part of a scientific community,” said Arya.

Danielle Harlow, associate professor of science education at UC Santa Barbara (UCSB).  At UCSB, Danielle teaches courses about teaching and learning science and engineering to prospective elementary school teachers, undergraduates, and PhD students. Her research focuses on how children learn by engaging in the processes and practices of science and engineering in both formal and informal learning environments. She is a former Peace Corps Volunteer, directs the annual UCSB School Maker Faire, and has a daughter who attends Girls Inc.

Jasmine McBeath, is a doctoral student at UC Santa Barbara, studying education with an emphasis in Learning, Culture, and Technology. In addition to coordinating the Curie-osity Project, Jasmine also leads a makerspace program at a local teen center integrating science, technology, and art into social action projects. Jasmine is interested in after-school programs that broaden the definition of science, and is passionate about getting more girls to participate in and contribute to STEM fields.

The Curie-osity Project will resume with its second cohort of Girls Inc. girls in September of this year.