WINS (Women in Natural Sciences)

pair of WINS ladies in a saltwater marsh

“WINS has been a big part of my life. It has provided me with new opportunities both academically and socially. I feel like part of a big family that inspires and encourages me to reach my personal goals.”

—Leronda Barker WINS student, 99-02'

What is WINS?

Women In Natural Sciences (WINS) is a free after-school and summer science enrichment program at the Academy of Natural Sciences serving young women from underrepresented communities and households facing financial limitations within the Philadelphia School District. Since its founding in 1982, WINS has introduced hundreds of high school women to future careers in science and other professions by providing hands-on science workshops, career and college exploration and positive youth development.

WINS provides young women with the information, encouragement, and confidence they need to shape their futures. The program’s mentoring and support has resulted in 100% of WINS students graduating high school and over 96% attending college. Approximately 63% pursue careers in STEM, many accrediting their experience in WINS as the inspiration for considering careers in environmental sciences and engineering.

In addition to a strong emphasis on academics and science, WINS also provides a uniquely nurturing environment, a community of like-minded friends, and experiences not typically found in school. For most alumnae and students, WINS is a network and a sisterhood, and the Academy is considered their safe haven and second home.


WINS I begins in the summer after 8th grade with eight weeks of environmental exploration in and outside of the city. The summer concludes with an exciting weeklong trip to the Poconos where the girls get a chance to apply the knowledge and skills obtained throughout the summer.

During the school year, weekly workshops and monthly field trips give the girls the opportunity to be directly involved with the scientists, collections, and resources of the Academy. The program culminates in a seashore camping trip. (See WINS I for more information.)


Once students have successfully completed WINS I, they have the opportunity to participate in the second phase, WINS II, which helps them to prepare for their academic and professional futures.

Though the program still continues to focus on science, college, career exploration and positive youth development activities provide the girls with a well-rounded experience. Along with a variety of monthly workshops and day-long field trips, the girls will visit Philadelphia-area colleges and take an extended tour of schools outside the area. (See WINS II for more information.)

How do you apply?

If you, or someone you know, is a promising eighth grade girl with a B average or better, and who plans to attend a Philadelphia public or charter high school, see How to Apply for more information. The nomination period is from January 1 to February 15.

If you would like to learn how you can support WINS, please contact the Academy's Department of Institutional Advancement at 215-299-1182 or