GOALS will not be running a program in 2020. Check back for 2021 plans!


The GOALS program includes a two-week, immersive backpacking component as well as a year-long one-on-one mentoring component. The immersive program involves a combination of hiking, front country (access to a car) and backcountry camping, and staying in dorms at UC Davis. During two five-day backcountry excursions, participants engage in hands-on learning and will complete small scientific investigations of their own. Their trek culminates in the completion of a scientific experiment of each participant’s own design, which they present on the last day.

GOALS is an opportunity for people who have had that experience of walking into a classroom, a lab, or an outdoor space and finding that no one else looked like them. GOALS was created to increase opportunities for high school students who are from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). We particularly encourage people of color, trans, nonbinary, genderqueer, and LGBTQ+ people to apply. If you’ve doubted that you belong in STEM or the outdoors, GOALS is for you.

GOALS wants to assemble a diverse team of students for our backcountry experience so we can all grow as scientists and leaders while exploring, sharing, and celebrating the many facets of our identities. These identities can include:

    • Race and ethnicity,
    • Sexual orientation and gender identity,
    • Cultural background and upbringing,
    • Hometown and family dynamics,
    • Personality,
    • Socioeconomic status or class,
    • Languages spoken at home,
    • Education level of family members,
    • Immigration status,
    • Body size and ability,
    • Religious or spiritual identity, and
  • Other identities and life experiences.

The purpose of this application is for us to understand how you view yourself, the role you will play on this trip, and the role this trip will play in your life. There are no right or wrong answers! However, the questions below all have character limits. Our most successful applicants typically use almost all of the allotted space.


ALL of the following statements must be met in order to be eligible for GOALS. Please send us an email if you are unsure if you meet these requirements. You must:

  • Be a rising junior in high school (completing 10th grade in Spring 2019)
  • Identify with girlhood (we welcome all trans, cis, genderqueer, and non-binary youth)
  • Live within 35 miles of Davis, CA 95616
  • Be available for the trip, scheduled to take place from 07/13/2019 to 07/28/2019, as well as a pre-trip orientation hike in Davis on 6/15/2019
  • Be interested in learning more about science and the outdoors
  • Want to work as a member of a team
  • Be able to hike with a backpack


GOALS is an outdoors experience that will expose you to hands-on science projects. GOALS means working in tight quarters with a 7 other girls. GOALS can be both a physically and mentally challenging program. We’ve designed the days so that all participants will be able to complete the hikes, with plenty of time for breaks during the hikes and downtime to decompress. Some of the challenges you can expect include keeping a positive attitude, physical endurance (hiking for 6 miles with a 40-pound backpack), being away from home (and your phone) during the 2 week trip, getting along with your peers night and day, critters and dirt (your tent mate’s smelly socks), being asked questions that no one knows the answers to (welcome to science), and creative problem-solving, to name a few. While some of these may sound a little scary, we believe they are also what make the experience so much fun and such a great learning experience. We are confident that you will have fun and want to make the outdoors a bigger part of your life.

Full Group
The 2018 GOALS team! (not pictured: trip leader Sage)