a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z #

Tamara Hudgins Executive Director

Tamara's professional background is in nonprofit management and development. She has managed and raised support for educational organizations, and was executive director of a community foundation serving Williamson County, Texas before joining Girlstart. Before her move to Texas in late 2005, Tamara was executive director of a nonprofit that served more than 11,000 Chicago teachers and children every week.

Julie Shannan Deputy Director

Julie Shannan has created, launched and managed some of the most innovative and effective informal education programs for girls, parents and teachers. Ms. Shannan is a recipient of the prestigious “Austin Under 40” Award for leadership in Youth and Education. She currently serves on the Texas Girls Collaborative Project Leadership Council, a member of NASA Human Health and Performance Center, and is an advisory board member for SciGirls, a PBS show for girls and science. She is also a graduate of Leadership Austin ('05) and Leadership Texas ('13). 

Kristi Anderson Eschberger Senior Program Coordinator

Ms. Anderson received her Bachelor of Science in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas at Austin. An experienced teacher and informal educator, Kristi most recently taught 6th grade math in Clear Creek ISD, where she also served as Girls Coach and Math Interventionist. While an undergraduate at UT, she interned at Girlstart in our After School programs and has continued to spend her summers with us as Camp Counselor and, most recently, a member of our ‘travel team,’ bringing Girlstart Summer Camp to other states.

Sharlym Aquino Gil Director of Volunteers & Community Relations

Ms. Gil coordinates close to a 1000 volunteers annually for Girlstart all throughout the state of Texas as well as at satellite locations across the nation. She works closely with community organizations, corporations, students, and Girlstart alumnae to provide meaningful volunteer placements throughout our programs. Ms. Gil coordinates all the logistics for Girlstart's annual Girls in STEM Conference each spring in Austin, TX., and recruits presenters and volunteers to help throughout the day.  She also handles the logistics for Girlstart's annual Game Changers luncheon in Austin, TX. Sharlym earned her Bachelor of Science in Public Relations at the University of Texas at Austin.

Katie Fischer Program Coordinator

Katie Fischer graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a teaching certification through the UTeach program. Prior to Girlstart, Katie was an educator in Northside ISD, teaching high school math courses ranging from Algebra 1 to Pre-Calculus. As an undergraduate at UT, she interned at Girlstart leading Girlstart After School programs. After graduating, she continued to spend her summers as a part of the Girlstart Summer Camp travel team, leading summer camps in other states. Katie currently oversees Girlstart's nationally-recognized informal, STEM education After School Program for girls. 

Itzel Gutierrez Program Coordinator

Itzel led Girlstart After School as a member of the STEM CREW team in 2011-2013, working directly with girls in advancing their acumen, interest, and confidence in STEM. She has also been a part of our Girlstart Summer Camp 'to Go' team, leading summer camp in 6 states in 2012, 2013, and 2014. After earning her BA in Urban Studies and Geography from UT-Austin, she joined Girlstart full time as a program coordinator. Itzel ensures the consistency, fidelity, and success of Girlstart's programs outside Central Texas, and plans for Girlstart's future replication in new communities. 

Nicole Genovese Development Officer for Strategic Expansion & Growth

Nicole has been working in development for healthcare, science, and education for over ten years. Prior to joining Girlstart, Nicole worked at the University of Chicago Medical and Biological Sciences Development Office providing expertise in strategy and high-level writing to advance relationships and gift discussions for the cancer programs. As the Development Officer for Strategic Expansion and Growth at Girlstart, Nicole is responsible for securing funding to support Girlstart’s expansion beyond Central Texas. Nicole graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Chemistry. Nicole enjoys travelling and live music – a recent transplant to the Austin area she is taking advantage of the many music venues Austin has to offer.

Sarah Harris Evaluation Manager

Sarah has ten years of experience in research, analysis, partnerships, and program management. She believes meaningful change comes from empowering others to develop community-driven solutions while also leveraging strategic partnerships. Sarah has extensive experience working in grassroots environments on challenges facing low-income communities in the Southern United States and Latin America. Her areas of work include, digital literacy, job development, resettlement, empowerment, STEM, gender issues, criminal justice, and the arts. She works predominantly in monitoring, evaluation, and learning and external representation.

Casey Hatfield Development Assistant

Casey supports all aspects of Girlstart’s development work, and assisting with community outreach. She joined Girlstart in 2014 after working with the American Red Cross and the United Way through the Americorps Vista program. Casey earned her BA in Sociology from Southwestern University, where she researched factors that affect college retention rates in the STEM fields. Casey enjoys paddle boarding, trail running on the Greenbelt, and playing the piano. 

Jodi Hayes Accounting Manager

Jodi has been the Accounting Manager for Girlstart since 2010.  Prior to joining Girlstart she worked for many years at Dell Inc. in various roles that included Global Accounts Payable Manager, Financial Systems and Business to Business Project Management, where she was recognized for creating a process patent. She earned her B.S. in Accounting from the University of Rhode Island and her M.B.A. from St. Edwards here in Austin. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her husband trying to keep up with their identical twin girls.

Ellen Quigley Houston Program Coordinator

Ellen Quigley graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a teaching certification through the UTeach program. As a college student, Ellen interned with Girlstart’s After School and Summer Camp programs. After graduation, Ellen taught high school biology in Spring Branch ISD and spent her summers as a member of Girlstart’s Summer Camp travel team. Ellen is currently the coordinator for Girlstart’s programs in Houston, Texas.

Kara Torbert Community STEM & Summer Coordinator

Kara earned her Bachelor's degree in Earth and Planetary Science, with an emphasis in Geology, from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining Girlstart, Kara led after school science programs for AmeriCorps, and served as a summer camp counselor at the elementary and middle school levels. Kara enjoys orienteering, hiking, step aerobics, and finding fun trivia nights in Austin.

Meera V. Angus Corporate, Foundation, and Social Communities Manager

Meera manages Girlstart's development activities and social media presence. Prior to joining Girlstart, she worked at Google where she lead the global training and onboarding teams for the Enterprise Support division. After flexing her social media skills in a 20% project, Meera became the Google Apps Online Community Manager and developed strategies to better utilize social media to interact with and support Google Apps users. Meera holds a B.B.A. in Management Information Systems with a minor in Asian Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. She’s an avid reader, dog lover, and traveler.


Katelyn Wamsted Director of Programs

Katelyn Wamsted is Girlstart’s Director of Programs, where she develops and leads all of Girlstart’s nationally-recognized STEM education programs for girls. She recruits, trains, and leads program staff--including the college students, preservice teachers and STEM majors, who conduct our programs, the STEM CREW—as well as curriculum developers who ensure that Girlstart’s continually-refreshed content are standards- and research-based. Under Katelyn’s leadership, Girlstart After School has grown to serving 54 schools in Texas, and Girlstart Summer Camp now reaches more than 650 girls in Central Texas and in states nationwide. As part of her collaborative engagement with the national informal science community, Katelyn is a lead trainer for WaterBotics as well as for SciGirls and serves on the Informal Science Education Association of Texas Board of Directors. Having joined Girlstart in 2005, Katelyn has been an informal educator for more than 14 years.


Annual Report

Board of Directors

The goal of Girlstart and its board is to provide strategies, resources and programs to increase the numbers of young women pursuing education and careers in science, math and engineering.


  • Becky Austen, Chair
  • Bronwyn Blake
  • Janet Cinfio, Vice Chair
  • Cassie Crist
  • Shelley Gretlein
  • Doug Hillary
  • Tera Hogan
  • Arcie Jordan
  • Liza Mandeville
  • Rick Morales
  • Shantel Norman, Treasurer
  • Sharon Reddehase, Secretary
  • Michelle Roebuck
  • Randy Sabbagh
  • Elizabeth Seriff 
  • Dave Stump
  • Alfred Viehbeck
  • Meg Wilson