Kern Dance Alliance presents SHINE for Girls





8 Weeks: Saturdays, 10:00-12:30

| September 19-November 7, 2020

KDA Dance Studio @ Garces Memorial High School





Applications Open August 1
Mentor Application Deadline August 25
Student Application Deadline August 31
Mentor Training September 19




2020 SHINE applications flyers will be available soon!


SHINE is a nationally recognized, innovative, curriculum-based, after-school program for middle school girls. Utilizing kinesthetic learning, SHINE combines formal dance training with rigorous math instruction to improve girls’ math scores and spark their interest in STEM.

MATH+DANCE=SUCCESS covers national math standards from 6th-8th grade, while improving overall girls’ confidence and attitudes towards math through a positive feedback loop, resulting in higher test scores and participation in classes.

SHINE girls have seen 100% improvement in math scores and confidence as measured by pre/post tests and surveys across several programs in numerous states. SHINE has received positive feedback from national media including CNN, CBS, Fox, the Boston Globe—and most importantly from the girls, parents, and teachers. Short-term objectives of empowering 6th-8th grade female students with both the confidence and mathematics skills to embrace math leads into the long-term goal of creating a pipeline of next-generation leaders in STEM fields. SHINE is currently taught in Washington DC, Chicago, and Boston- BAKERSFIELD IS THE FIRST city in California and on the West Coast to offer SHINE via a partnership with KDA.

upporting local youth in education pursuits
Harnessing self-esteem and confidence on stage and in the classroom
Inspiring young women to pursue STEM fields
Nurturing a love of mathematics
Empowering women across America


Each session of SHINE serves 25 girls and 5 mentors.  An online application is required for SHINE girls and mentors. SHINE National Branch Staff Members review applications and offer acceptance based upon applications.  Girls not able to join the current session of SHINE will be offered a place in a future SHINE session.


SHINE girls are 6th-8th grade girls interested in improving math scores, developing confidence, learning about STEM careers, and participating in a program that empowers women.


SHINE mentors are local high school or college women who have qualified based on their math background, tutoring experience, dance experience, attitude and enthusiasm, and the results of a background check. The mentor training involves a customized online certification system along with a half-day mentor training session.

Mentors receive:

  • Training in working with young girls and teaching math and dance
  • The opportunity to give back to their local communities and advocate for women in STEM
  • Hands-on experience in the service sector
  • Leadership opportunities at a young age
  • A space to enhance their own skills through teaching and channel their own creativity
  • Access to a national network of women in STEM
  • The possibility of pursuing multi-faceted SHINE for Girls work through our quickly growing national nonprofit during the summers
  • Recommendations and referrals for internships, colleges, and graduate schools

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Every middle school teacher has had a girl in a math class say, “I can’t.” SHINE turns the “I can’t” around by creating an environment in which girls not only realize that they can, but that they want to. SHINE consistently improves girls’ math scores and sparks their interest in mathematics.

Utilizing kinesthetic learning, movement and action replaces more passive forms of learning, such as listening to a lecture. We have all forgotten facts once memorized in a classroom, but we seem to be able to remember dance moves we once learned. By connecting the different ways in which we learn, SHINE enables effective understanding and retention of information in addition to imbuing abstract mathematical concepts with a physical meaning.

For example, SHINE introduces algebra through choreography: girls can create a simple dance of three twirls followed by a jump and will write down 3x + y where x = twirl, y = jump. Through dancing, girls realize that 3(x+y) = 3x + y + 2y. Before they say “I can’t do algebra,” they already have. This begins the positive feedback loop of girls believing in themselves, and their confidence stems from knowing they have the ability to succeed.

SHINE’s proprietary curriculum has been honed over several years and has provided consistent reproducible results.

SHINE provides girls with the opportunity to become engaged in STEM and assume leadership. Women in high school and college lead the 8 week sessions and also benefit from the experience by engaging in a network of women in STEM.


The innovative and proprietary SHINE curriculum features 3 different levels and covers the following topics: 1) Arithmetic and Order of Operations 2) Fractions, Decimals & 3) Pre-algebra 4) Coordinate Geometry 5) Planar Geometry 6) Probability and Statistics 7) Advanced Word ProblemsA typical day in the SHINE for Girls program will include:

  • Snacks and Bonding – SHINE mentors check in with their girls every week. Mentors review any homework and challenge problems from the previous week.
  • Kinesthetic Learning Activities – Each week a new math topic is introduced through kinesthetic learning- based activities. These activities are designed to teach the concepts in a new way and excite the girls about the material.
  • Dance – Girls learn dance in a formal setting from an experienced dancer. They will learn a dancer’s warm up and stretching routine, practice technical dance exercises, and rehearse choreography that will be performed in the final recital. Attitude, confidence, teamwork, and dedication will be emphasized.
  • Small Group Tutoring – Students join their mentors to review customized math problems corresponding to their curriculum level and the weekly topic. Girls are encouraged to work together, support one another, and lead the group through problems.
  • Final Day of SHINE– Girls perform choreography in front of family, friends, teachers, complete with costumes, awards, and snacks. Parents and teachers will have the opportunity to speak with their child’s mentor about their child’s progress.  SHINE National Team provides detailed summaries of progress (weakest/ strongest subject, areas that are most/ least improved, general feedback) when requested from teachers or parents


SHINE is FREE to all participants and is made possible by generous donations from our community. You can help others to SHINE:

  • $100 affords snacks and water for one SHINE session
  • $175 affords one SHINE tuition
  • $250 affords one SHINE Curriculum
  • $875 affords five SHINE tuitions
  • $3,650 affords one SHINE sessions
  • $14,600 affords an entire year (four sessions) of SHINE value-prop-03


CNN “Can’t do math? Dance it out”

CBS Evening News “Dance Program Shows Girls and Math Can Add Up”

Boston Globe “In After-School Program, Girls Link Elegance of Dance and Math”

FOX 25 “New Program Uses Dancing to Get Children Excited About Math and Science”

Education Week “MIT Student’s After-School Program Uses Dance to Improve Girls’ Math Skills”

Edutopia “Kinesthetic Learning: Moving Toward a New Model for Education”

MIT Alumni – Slice of MIT “Girls SHINE Dancing Hip Hop Variables”

MIT Community Service Fund “SHINE for Girls”

MIT News Office “MIT Students Help Middle-School Girls SHINE in Dance and Math”

MIT Public Service Center “Math and Movement”

Kern County Family Magazine “Kern Dance Alliance First on West Coast to Present SHINE Program” 

The MoneyWise Guys Radio Show

KUZZ Radio “Prestigious Dance Program Gets Middle School Girls Into Math”

The Bakersfield Californian “Girls to Shine in Dance and Math Program”

NBC/KGET Channel 17 “New Program is Boosting Girls’ Confidence While Boosting Their Math Scores”

NBC/KGET Channel 17 “SHINE program incorporating math and dance for middle school girls.”

ABC/Channel 23 “Kern Dance Alliance Shine for Girls: Math + Dance = Success”

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Jessica Reyes

Jessica Reyes is a full-time student at California State University of Bakersfield majoring in Mathematics. She is a student researcher for CREST (Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology). Her career goal is to become a math teacher at the high school level. Jessica’s passion for performing arts stems from her experiences in Colorguard. She has been both a member and coach of several Colorguard programs, in Bakersfield, CA, including Intensity Independent, for a combined total of 13 years. She was a SHINE Mentor in the Spring of 2016 and will serve as the Lead Mentor in the Bakersfield program for the 2016-2017 school year. She is excited to share her love for math education and performing arts with students.

To date, Kern Dance Alliance has graduated a total of 97 SHINE Girls and Mentors.  As the only branch in California and on the West Coast, KDA is proud to offer the SHINE program free of charge to all participants thanks to the generous funding of sponsors and private donations including Chevron, Junior League of Bakersfield, The Women’s and Girls’ Fund of Kern County/Kern Community Foundation, Cynthia Lake Charitable Trust, Robert Grimm Family Foundation, Bakersfield Californian Foundation, Sean and Jennifer Maguire, and Garces Memorial High School.

Fall 2019: September 7-October 26

Fall served 23 girls and 13 mentors

Session results according to SHINE pre/posttest results:

Girls reported:

    • 100% loved working with their mentor
    • 84% agreed SHINE improved their dance skills
    • 79% of girls feel more confident both IN and OUT of math class
    • 68% of girls math skills were improved

Parents reported:

    • 90% of parents felt that SHINE had helped their girl improve in their math and confidence

Parents also felt their girls had gained life skills.  The following are those kills ranked the highest: 

    1. Confidence 
    2. 2. Cooperation/Teamwork 
    3. 3. Dedication 
    4. 4. Encouraging their girls to try their best

Fall 2018: September 8-October 27

Fall served 25 girls and 10 mentors

Session results according to SHINE pre/posttest results:

80% of girls feel more confident both IN and OUT of math class

100% of girls feel proud of what the accomplished during the program

Fall 2017: September 9 – October 28

Fall served 22 girls and 6 mentors

Session results according to SHINE pre/posttest results:

  • 95% of SHINE Girls reported an improvement their math skills.
  • 100% of SHINE Girls reported an improvement in their confidence level.
  • 95% of SHINE parents have stated that their girls reported a heightened interest in STEM and dance.

Spring 2017: April 1 – May 20

Spring served 19 girls and 9 mentors

Session results according to SHINE pre/posttest results:

  • 93% of SHINE Girls reported an improvement their math skills.
  • 100% of SHINE Girls reported an improvement in their confidence level.
  • 100% of SHINE parents have stated that their girls reported a heightened interest in STEM and dance.

Fall 2016: September 10-October 29

Fall served 15 girls and 8 mentors

Session results according to SHINE pre/posttest results:

  • 100% of SHINE Girls reported an improvement their math skills.
  • 100% of SHINE Girls reported an improvement in their confidence level.
  • 93% of SHINE parents have stated that their girls reported a heightened interest in STEM and dance.

Spring 2016: April 2 – May 21

Spring served 12 girls and 6 mentors

Session results according to SHINE pre/posttest results:

  • 97% of SHINE Girls reported an improvement their math skills.
  • 100% of SHINE Girls reported an improvement in their confidence level.
  • 93% of SHINE parents have stated that their girls reported a heightened interest in STEM and dance.

Apart from measurable results, KDA has learned the greatest from SHINE Mentor testimonials at the culmination of each session:

I am so proud to be part of SHINE for girls. I learned how to be patient when trying to teach the girls new concepts. It was difficult sometimes to explain some problems, but when the girls would understand and make the connection, it was the best feeling. I hope the girls learned math can be understood through reason and little tricks to help them. I learned I enjoy teaching and talking to younger people. I was in the same position as the girls, and I wish SHINE was in Bakersfield for my time. The girls are more confident in the way they speak, the way they interact, and with their attitude to learn. My interest in STEM has heightened. The session is helpful to my choice in career. I want to be a pediatrician because I enjoy learning medicine, and I enjoy talking to kids. I am glad I was able to share my passion for learning not only academics, but the passion of dance with girls. Dance boosted my self-confidence and I know it had the same effect with the girls. My SHINE girls were shy and after the session they love to talk. After the six weeks, I hope they remember me and the impact I made in their futures. I would love to return as a SHINE mentor for the fall 2017 session next year. – Mikaela Cardenas, SHINE Mentor Fall 2016

Being a SHINE mentor has been incredibly fun and educational! Every Saturday I wake up excited and ready to engage with the SHINE girls. I loved watching the girls come out of their shells as they grow in both their math and dance abilities. There are many aspects of STEM that appeal to me. Currently I’m focused on the PLTW Engineering program at Centennial High School. The process of bringing my ideas to life with via engineering, math, technology and science is exciting! I like mentoring for one specific reason, the “ah-ha” moment. That look when their eyes light up you can almost see that a door had been opened in their mind. Being an introvert, I would say that being a SHINE mentor has also helped me to come out of my own mind and engage with others. The girls and I have formed a bond, we feel empowered when we come together. The SHINE program is great, that is my feedback. I would definitely want to be a mentor for the spring and fall sessions of 2017. – Victoria McFarland, SHINE Mentor Spring 2016

Being a part of SHINE has not only been fun, but it has been such a great experience. Mentoring the girls, I learned about their strengths and weaknesses, and I helped them when they were struggling. In this process, I assessed my strengths and weaknesses and worked with the girls to overcome difficulties. All of the girls brought their own personality each week, and watching them have fun was the best part of my weekly session. SHINE has been a great opportunity for me, and I hope to see other girls experience the same. – Elise Wurtman, SHINE Mentor Spring 2017 

KDA Thanks the following


FALL 2019

FALL 2018


FALL 2016


FALL 2017