Our Story

Girls University was founded in 2016 by Ashli Smart. She has a passion for inspiring, motivating and educating youth. Our girls need positive role models who are equally passionate about their personal and academic success and a safe, interactive place to learn.

Our communities across the United States lack consistent programming that is geared towards the development of future female leaders and evermore so in STEM and STEAM.

– thus Girls University was born!

The goal of Girls University is to give girls across the country a chance to be their best self, gain confidence in their abilities, and explore possibilities.

About our founder

Ashli Smart serves as the National Director of Programs and Brand for Girls University, a 5K-12 gender-specific after school academy in Florence, South Carolina. Girls University focuses on education, social and personal enrichment of girls, including STEM and STEAM. Ashli holds a Bachelor of Science degree from University of Maryland in Marketing and a Masters of Science degree from Drexel University in Information Systems. Ashli has been recognized by Girls Scouts as a “Volunteer of Excellence” and has held many leadership roles within the organization.  Ashli volunteers with Junior League of Florence and assists with Empowered to Heal. She also serves with NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) Pee Dee/Florence chapter and is an advisor for the Florence area NSBE Jr. chapter. She is also an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Epsilon Chi Omega Chapter.

With more than 15 years of industry and technology experience, Ashli has used her passion to fuel the growth of her business. One of her greatest strengths is her tenacity and strength in staying motivated through obstacles. Ashli’s positive outlook on failure is the key to her success and growth. Ashli lives by the motto “Dream Big, Think the unthinkable and Stay positive.”

Our girls need us, let’s motivate, let’s inspire, let’s educate our future leaders together.

Read about our staff

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