ESD Girls in Engineering Academy

GEA at Lawrence Tech - watch the video!

The Engineering Society of Detroit’s Girls in Engineering Academy (GEA) program is a transformative space that empowers girls, particularly girls of color, historically marginalized in STEM fields, to live their best lives. GEA encourages middle and high school girls to embrace their innate brilliance through STEM exploration. GEA is unique as it focuses on the whole person by integrating STEM learning with a student-centered, hands-on, and project-based approach. GEA scholars are provided access to powerful STEM learning experiences that challenge them to think deeply and critically. As STEM learners, they are empowered to use STEM as a tool for personal and social change. 

ESD will select up to 40 new applications for rising sixth grade middle school girls to participate in the year-long learning program. GEA continues each year, building upon the concepts they learn through their previous GEA courses to create a strong engineering foundation. 

GEA Features:

  • Education about what engineers do. 
  • Instructors who are female engineering students and university professors. 
  • Workshops in STEAM. 
  • Hands-on experience designing engineering projects. 
  • Field trips to Engineering Facilities and other STEM-related places. 
  • Courses held on university campuses. 
  • Year 2 and older students stay residentially at university campuses during the summer program. 
GEA students have participated in the NXG Motorsports Competition racing event for three years. This year, three (green lanyards) won the Motor Cross Competition for Racing, and two are Gold Award winners. From left are Lindsay Turner, Riley Johnson, Ty'Lynn Thornton, Areeba Aalam, and Sophia Wicketts.

Program Registration
January 15 – May 1, 2024

Summer Program Dates/Times
July 8 – August 2, 2024 
Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Academic Year Program Dates
October 2024 – May 2025
16 Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 


The summer program engages students over a four-week period, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Monday–Friday.  During the Year-1 summer program, GEA focuses on five themes for GEA scholars: 

  • Mathematics (pre-algebra)
  • Computer Science (hands-on programming projects) 
  • Mechanical Engineering/Physics
  •  Drone Technology
  • English/Language Arts 

The academic program meets two Saturdays a month October through May for three-hour sessions focusing primarily on material retention and comprehension. Students in the GEA program have access to female college engineering students that can act as mentors and tutors to help with their school and GEA work. The GEA program provides math and science enrichment, engineering and computer science concepts, English/Language Arts comprehension, hands-on project based STEM activities, mentoring, field trips to industry, and engineering career exploration. 

How To Apply?
Applications will be accepted from January 15 – May 1, 2024. Follow the links on this page. 

When Will Applicants Be Notified?
The Engineering Society of Detroit will notify applicants of their acceptance or wait-list status after May 2, 2024.  We will not be able to respond to status requests before this date. A down payment of $100 will be required to apply. If denied, down payment will be refunded. Please provide a frequently checked email or cell phone (text) number on the application. 

What Is The Cost?
$300 per year 

Who Is eligible for The Girls in Engineering Academy Program?
Current 5th grade female students who are interested in STEAM and are passionate about learning. 

Meet the GEA Team:

Dr. Gerald Thompkins, Program Director
248-353-0735, Ext. 139
248-353-0736 FAX

Alexandra Lofton, Program Manager
248-353-0735, Ext. 161

Jazalyn Williams, Program Coordinator
248-353-0735, Ext. 128

Parent and Student Testimonials:

“Dr. Thompkins, I wanted to share my daughter’s excitement with you. She came in first place in chemistry class. She said she learned all about whatever they were doing in GEA! Thank you!” —Laurena Bascomb-Evans, GEA Parent 

“GEA has allowed me to make friends and help academically. I learned how to dissect a frog and use JAVA. I don’t think I would have done these things at my age without GEA. Without donations, I would not be able to participate in GEA. I personally would like to say thank you to every sponsor and donor. The best part of GEA was going on different field trips learning what different engineers do. I also liked being able to live on a college campus. Initially, I as nervous about being away from my parents but after a couple days I realized that college could be fun! I can’t wait to study engineering ” —Maliah Z, GEA student 

“GEA is very important to me because the program continues to educate and expose young girls, like me, into areas of engineering and opportunities, that I once thought was specifically for boys. Engineers cover a wide range of careers and because of GEA, I found myself becoming more excited about improving core subjects of academics, like math and science. I discovered by being associated with ESD/GEA that I could accomplish just as much, as a young female, as my male classmates can.” —Fyla E, GEA student 

“I want to share how much this program has impacted my daughter Niara’s learning. She is in Academic Games, and her instructor has said she’s the best in the program. Last year she won the best participant award. Last year she was on honor roll the entire year, and this year not only is she on honor roll but she’s maintaining a 4.0. Huge thank you to you and your staff for all that you do!” —Yahasha Colbert, GEA parent 


Girls in Engineering Summer 2023


GEA Student Courtney Wright is featured on WDIV Brag Book. She attributes Columbia scholarship to GEA Program.
PNC Bank sponsored seven GEA students and 3 staff members to attend the Detroit Grand Prix preliminaries and meet and tour with the PNC racing team. Attendees included Amira Abdulla-Raheem, Fyla Ellis, London Moore, Asia Patton, Amari Patton, Niara Saulsberry, and Elizabeth Swainson.