INTEGIRLS aims to lessen gender gap in STEM

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Back, from left, INTEGIRLS participants Maddie Xu, Sophia Fu, Allison Shen, Eesha Singh, and front, from left, Helena Wang, Jasmine Zhang and Jenny Li. (Photo courtesy of Sophia Fu)

A Carmel High School junior is continuing her quest to support other girls interested in math.

Sophia Fu founded INTEGIRLS her freshman year at Carmel High School. The group provides math competitions for girls in middle school and high school.

Fu has competed in math competitions since she was in middle school.

“There were never really many girls,” Fu said. “Especially as the difficulty of the problems went up or as it became more selective to enter camps or different programs.”

Fu founded INTEGIRLS in 2022 to empower and support women in STEM through competitive problem-solving opportunities.

She said each year a math competition is held in the spring and fall.

“Usually, one of them is in person and the other one is virtual,” Fu said.

In the fall, the competition includes participants from areas that include Zionsville, Carmel and Indianapolis. The spring competition is done virtually through Zoom, allowing international participation. Globally, INTEGIRLS has impacted approximately 20,000 students.

Fu said the events have created an atmosphere where girls leave feeling supported and with an incentive to continue pursuing math.

“In the in-person competitions I can really see people with a sense of comfort in the environment,” Fu said.

INTEGIRLS has raised more than $10,000 in cash and $50,000 in prizes for participants around the world through fundraisers and sponsorships with organizations like Eli Lilly.

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