OUR MISSION

Our mission is to empower young women to be successful in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses in order to close the gender gap in STEM careers.

OUR GOALS

Our goals are to increase young women’s confidence in science and math concepts and conducting scientific investigations; increase their academic performance in STEM courses; and increase their passion in pursuing STEM majors and careers.

Our Values

Design Connect Create cultivates a culture where persistence is expected, curiosity is encouraged, risk is rewarded and creativity is applauded. These are our values…

Educational Equity

Equity in education means that personal or social circumstances such as gender, ethnic origin or family background, are not obstacles to achieving educational potential and that all individuals reach at least a basic minimum level of skills. We aim to provide services and resources that are accessible and equitable for every young woman.

Diversity

We respect, value and celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics and perspectives that make each person who they are. We aim to bring together diverse individuals to collectively and more effectively reach our mission.

Inclusion

In order to leverage diversity, an environment must be created where people feel safe, supported, listened to and able to do their personal best. Rather than asking others to fit in, we aim to expand boundaries to not only include the marginalized, but to welcome and celebrate their valuable contributions to the learning environments we share.

Empathy and Vulnerability

Dr. Brene’ Brown writes: “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability and authenticity.” In order to hold and elevate our values of equity, diversity, and inclusion, we aim to practice vulnerability, reflect on our biases, increase our self-awareness, discover ways to disrupt the status quo, and always ask, “What else might be true?”

Our Results

By empowering more young women to take rigorous math and science classes in high school, they will be prepared to choose a STEM major in college. Our camps are designed to keep more young women in the STEM education pipeline in order to create a talented and diverse STEM workforce. The first camp, offered in Dallas ISD in the summer of 2003, was funded by High-Tech High Heels and the Texas Instrument Foundation. Since that time, thousands of young women have attended physics camp. In 2014, President Wanda Gass formed Design Connect Create, a 501(c)3 non-profit, in order to expand the delivery of the camp to other school districts.

Our Girls Are More Likely to Choose STEM

A longitudinal study of high-performing females who graduated from Dallas ISD in 2006, showed that women were 2.5 times more likely to earn a four-year college degree and 4.7 times more likely to earn a 4-year college degree in science or engineering if they had attended physics camp.​

2018 Camp Report

Summer of 2018, Design Connect Create hosted 10 two-week physics camps, and 230 young women across the state of Texas actively participated! Camps were in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Duncanville, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, and also at Rice University (Houston), and UT Dallas (Richardson). We encourage you to download our report to learn more about our 2018 summer program.

  • 81% said that they are more prepared to make college and career choices.
  • 95% said that they think physics might be hard, but believe they can do it.
  • 91% are positive that they will earn an A or B in their science course.
  • 69% feel confident they will enroll in a collegiate STEM program.
  • 65% said they are more interested in a career that involves STEM.
  • 87% said they are more prepared for physics.

Our Team

Wanda Gass Sep 2017 headshot

Wanda Gass

Executive Dir & President

Wanda work for Texas Instruments for 31 years where she was elected TI Fellow and IEEE Fellow. In 2012 she became Director of summer camps for young women and in February 2014 became President of Design Connect Create. Wanda received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rice University and M.S. in Biomedical Engineering From Duke University.

Denise Strickland

Program Director

Dr. Denise Strickland is a skilled administrator who has depth of experience in both academic and non-profit management. She served as Director of Community Programs for 10 years supporting the Girl Scouts of Northeast Texas by helping to grow the programs in schools across Dallas and the metropolitan area. Denise has experience teaching at the university level, is a certified public school administrator and has also worked at the state level of education in Arkansas. Denise holds a BS degree in Education, MS degree in Public School Administration and ED degree in Education Leadership.

Our Board

Marshall Bartlett, PhD

Member Since 2016

Marshall taught physics and earth Science in high school and was the Physics Department Chair at Hollins University before becoming the Science Department Chair at the Hockaday School in Dallas, TX. 

Marshall earned a BS in Applied Physics from Brigham Young University, MS and PhD in Geophysics from the University of Utah.

Shaunna Black

Member Since 2016

Shaunna worked for Texas Instruments for 24 years and has been a consultant for global operations and coach for executive teams for 6 years. 

She is on the Engineering Advisory Board at UT Austin and Board Director for YWire Technologies. 

She holds a MS degree is Education from UT Austin and MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University.

Ed Bull

Member Since 2016

Bio Coming Soon

Kanika Carver

Kanika Carver

MEMBER SINCE 2016

Bio Coming Soon

Jennifer Wisinsky, JD

Member Since 2016

Jennifer is a partner at Haynes Boone in Dallas, TX and maintains a general corporate practice with an emphasis on corporate securities, mergers and acquisitions and corporate counseling.

Jennifer earned a BA in Plan II Program from University of Texas at Austin and JD from University of Texas at Austin.

Rick Wyman

MEMBER SINCE 2016

Bio Coming Soon

How could you help us?

Are you looking to serve the community outside of the board room? If you are interested in serving as an advisor, board member, fundraiser, or volunteer at-large, contact us! We need active volunteers to help us reach our goals. Share your skills with us and help us reach and inspire more girls in STEM.