UAlbany, Girls Inc. Partner for 11th Annual Eureka! Program

Schenectady's Ari Mayo stands in front of a poster she created describing her internship with Electrict City Barn.
Schenectady's Ari Mayo completed an internship with Electric City Barn through the Eureka! program held at UAlbany this summer. (Photo by Michael Parker)

By Michael Parker

ALBANY, N.Y. (Aug. 8, 2023) — Ari Mayo was about 4 years old when she first started attending summer events organized by Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region. She participated in after school activities growing up before taking part in her first Eureka! summer program a few years ago.

“I wanted to join because I was interested in the opportunities that Eureka! provided,” she said of the college and career readiness program.

Mayo, who will enter her junior year at Schenectady High School in the fall, was an intern this summer at the Electric City Barn in Schenectady, which provides artists studio space and access to woodwork shops, a metal welding room and computer labs to work on digital photography among a host of other activities.

“Being an intern has allowed me to help out, complete volunteer work at different companies from all around the city and to learn about all the career opportunities that exist for me,” said Mayo, who wants to be an executive chef one day.

Mayo was one of 72 girls from throughout the Capital Region who presented their posters at the 11th annual Eureka! summer program culminating ceremony, held at University’s Performing Arts Center on Aug. 4.

The summer internship experience is a partnership between UAlbany and Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region to offer an immersive experience in a college or career setting, with programs offered at Albany County Family Court, Saratoga County Animal Shelter, as well as within UAlbany’s Departments of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, Physics, Mathematics and Statistics, the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and many others.

“Eureka! is the programmatic equivalent of three main objectives: helping students to live healthy lives, succeed academically and acquire the life skills needed to prepare them for adulthood,” said Ashli Fragomeni, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region.

Three girls from Shaker High School in Loudonville NY present their poster at the 11th annual Girls Inc presentation at UAlbany in the Performing Arts Center.
Shaker ninth graders Tanvi Chekkara, Tejasvi Chekkara and Darshni Ramesh present their poster on atmospheric sciences at the 11th annual Girls Inc. Eureka! program at UAlbany. (Photo by Michael Parker)

Fragomeni pointed to the opportunity for girls to be exposed to what post-secondary life can be for them, including getting a real experience of being on a college campus and understanding how a high school classroom differs from a college laboratory.

“They're also learning how to level the playing field, so that when they have the choice to enter a field that women haven’t traditionally occupied, they have the confidence to go for it,” said Fragomeni.

“The University at Albany and the College of Arts and Sciences are pleased to continue our partnership with Girl’s Inc. and the Eureka! Program,” said Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jeanette Altarriba. “Our faculty and staff were honored to work with this year’s group of amazing students and share our knowledge and experiences with them driving a passion to continue to grow and to strive to be life-long learners. We look forward to learning more about their future successes and remain steadfast in support of their career goals and dreams.”

Recognizing that each girl’s path after high school is uniquely her own, Eureka! provides girls with critical skills to serve them well whether they choose to go direct-to-industry or enroll in college. Recent graduates of the program who have chosen higher education as their next step have gone on to attend Cornell University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Russell Sage College, Binghamton University, UAlbany and Yale University.