HAMPSHIRE COUNTY, Mass. (WWLP) – A Hampshire County program addressing the gender gap in science, graduated its first group of girls.

It’s a collaboration between the UMASS College of Natural Sciences and Girls Inc. of Holyoke. Eureka!, a five year program that follows girls from middle school through high school.

Less than 12 percent of women pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math. For minority women, that number is even lower. Eureka! was formed in 2013, to help increase that number.

Nilanjana Dasgupta, the Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion at UMASS said, “There’s a real social justice reason to try and take the kids who are interested in science and see if they would be interested in pursuing it as majors and careers, because it would reduce both the gender disparity in income and the race disparity in income.”

Every year, a group of around 30, 8th grade girls enroll. The girls attend a month long summer program at UMASS, where they are taught by UMASS professors and graduate students.

Eight girls graduated the program on Wednesday.