CBC intern Kaylee Madden credits SUPERGirls SHINE for opening doors
Kaylee Madden

SUPERGirls SHINE (SGS) Foundation has, for years, been a leader in introducing young Black girls and other girls of color to STEM education and professional opportunities, as well as mentors. And the proof of their effectiveness is surely “in the pudding.” Case in point, Kaylee Madden, a current Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Foundation intern who credits the Houston-area non-profit for placing her on a path for success.

Madden, a University of Houston-Clear Lake alumna with a Bachelor of Science in Finance, is looking to get into politics. And what better way than to serve as a CBC Foundation intern; a position that served as a launchpad for several current state and federal lawmakers.

In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the UH-Clear Lake chapter of the SUPERGirls SHINE, Madden became a member of the organization’s board, as well as a collegiate ambassador.

She’s now UH-Clear Lake’s first student to be awarded the coveted two-month internship with the CBC Foundation, working in the office of Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana’s 7th Congressional District at the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.

“I got interested in SUPERGirls SHINE because of their focus on making an impact,” said Madden. “I was going to go into political science, but because of SSG, I changed my major to finance. I questioned my math skills at first, but they gave me the confidence to believe I could do it.”

And such a testimony is music to the SGS Foundation’s founder Loretta Williams Gurnell.

“With less than 29% of women pursuing STEM degrees, 6% are Black women and 4% are Hispanic women, we’re looking to ‘leadHERs’ like Kaylee Madden to join SGSF in bridging gaps and rewriting narratives for girls and rising ‘leadHERs’ to not only pursue college STEM degrees but become ‘leadHERs’ and allies for more girls to reach their goals too,” said Williams Gurnell.

For madden, the SGS Foundation and her college alma mater created a pathway for her current climb towards her ultimate professional goal.

“UH-Clear Lake opened this door for me to be here on Capitol Hill,” she said. “The CBCF opened the door further.”

Madden initially learned about the internship through UH-Clear Lake College of Education Dean Joan Pedro and Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Omah Williams-Duncan, with assistance in completing the application process from Internship Programs Coordinator Bernadina Streeter.

“I’m learning about what goes on in January 6th hearings, as well as attending speaker series and coffee chats,” said Madden. “In coffee chats, you invite someone to talk about their profession and learn about what they do. They’re also networking meetings that are very informative and inspiring.”

Before Madden chose to pursue a degree in finance, she considered law school.

“Ultimately, that’s what I’d like to do,” she said. “Long term, I’d like to go into politics.”

With stronger leadership skills and relationships built through networking, Madden said she hopes to become a better public speaker and a more confident person, and again thanked SGS for encouraging her to see her potential to achieve those aims.

“SUPERGirls SHINE helped me see the various ways I could help others. Prior to membership, I know I wanted to help, but I just didn’t know how,” shared Madden.

And moving forward, Madden will have a hand in inspiring other young ladies to follow her path, and the SGS Foundation has named an award in Madden’s honor.

Starting in the 2022-23 academic year, SUPERGirls SHINE will present the Kaylee Madden Leadership IMPACT award to students who demonstrate leadership, character and initiative to create and make change in the community that results in access and equity for more girls in underserved communities to pursue STEM careers.