COLUMBUS, OH– On August 14, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (OH-03) held a Community Conversation at St. Stephen’s Community House to discuss developments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. More than 100 constituents attended the event, receiving an update about the positive impact of STEM in Central Ohio and talking with Beatty about related-issues and legislation, as well as other challenges facing Ohio’s Third Congressional District and the nation.   

The first segment of the Community Conversation featured a panel discussion of leading educators and practitioners working at the forefront of STEM education. Panelists included Congresswoman Beatty; Maxwell Slater, St. Stephen’s Community House Farm and Operations Manager; Toni Cunningham, Per Scholas Columbus Managing Director; Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, Ruling Our Experiences (ROX) Executive Director; and Mary Jane Pettigrew, Hamilton STEM Academy Vice-Principal.     

A lifelong champion of STEM education, Beatty spoke to the standing room only crowd of parents, stakeholders, advocates, and elected officials about its life-changing effects and her ongoing work to guarantee every student is well-versed in STEM.

“We need a highly trained workforce—hardworking individuals from all walks of life—ready for the jobs of tomorrow,” Beatty said at the Community Conversation. “This is essential to ensuring U.S. competitiveness and leadership in a rapidly changing global economy.” Beatty continued, “Unfortunately, our country is facing a massive shortage of workers skilled in these areas. To help fill the void, St. Stephen’s Community House, many other local nonprofits, and stakeholders are working overtime to equip more Central Ohioans with the much-needed tools, expertise, and education to succeed in the 21st Century, and I am working in Congress to make it a reality.” 

Beatty introduced the 21st Century STEM for Girls and Underrepresented Minorities Act,H.R. 3119, to expose more students to the STEM fields. If enacted into law, H.R. 3119would provide funding for local school districts to create the necessary infrastructure for enhanced STEM learning early in a student’s academic career. Federal funding would be used to improve professional development for teachers, strengthen outreach to parents, provide mentoring and tutoring programs, expand access to afterschool and summer programs that provide additional enrichment opportunities in STEM, and promote academic advice and assistance in high school course selection that encourages girls and minority-Americans to take advanced STEM classes and become STEM professionals. 

Dr. Lisa Hinkelman delivers keynote presentations

ROX Founder and Executive Director was the invited keynote speaker at the UPMC St. Margaret Family Medicine Residency grand rounds culmination showcase. Graduating residents gathered to learn the findings of The Girls’ Index and strategies for educating the patients and families they work with and care for at their practices. 

Additionally, Lisa was invited to share leadership strategies with Huntington’s Women in Leadership inaugural cohort. These rising female associates have been invited to participate in a year-long leadership development experience. 

Lastly, Alliance Data hosted a breakfast and learn for their Easton associates and Lisa shared tips and strategies for helping girls navigate social media at the Battelle for Kids Educators Connect for Success Conference. 

Is your company looking to book a speaker for an upcoming event or training? Let’s chat about working together!


Creating Confident Girls, Cultivating Women Who Lead

On Wednesday, May 30, Columbus women and men will come together for a community-engagement event designed to empower the next generation of women leaders.

The event, Creating Confident Girls, Cultivating Women Who Lead, will be a day of roundtable discussions across the city to discuss the findings from The Girls’ Index—a groundbreaking study conducted by local nonprofit Ruling Our Experiences (ROX)—and how we can cultivate pathways to success and leadership for women.  

The Girls’ Index is the first-ever, large-scale national survey designed to develop a deeper understanding of the thoughts, experiences, perceptions, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes of teen girls throughout the United States. The Girls’ Index reported findings on topics ranging from confidence and leadership to social media use and technology, and as part of this event, we will be discussing some key data points to try and tackle a problem that every organization is looking to solve—how to get more women into leadership. 

More than 50 Central Ohio companies  have signed on to host and facilitate conversations at their offices, ranging from fortune 500 companies like Cardinal Health and AEP to the six-person creative studio, WonderJam.

If you’re interested in organizing and hosting your own roundtable discussion about this critical topic, please contact Lauren Hancock at

ESPN features New ROX Research Release on Girls & Sports

In announcing the findings of The Girls and Sports Impact Report, the first in a series of deep analysis into the robust data set from The Girls' Index, ROX secured an national media exclusive with ESPN W. Read the feature by Kavitha Davidson.



2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four Legacy Project Brings to Light New Findings for Girls Who Participate in Sports from Groundbreaking Survey of 10,000+ U.S. Girls

COLUMBUS (April 1, 2018) - Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc. (ROX) announced new findings related to participation in sports from the largest study of its kind, The Girls' Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today's Girls, which surveyed 10,678 girls across the nation. Seeking to understand how findings vary for girls who participate in sports, ROX executed additional analysis into the robust data set to examine the relationship between sports participation and key personal, social, academic and relationship outcomes.

The Girls and Sports Impact Report was made possible by the Columbus Local Organizing Committee, as part of the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four Legacy Project. Complete report findings were released today by report author and ROX Founder/Executive Director Dr. Lisa Hinkelman at a special NCAA Women’s Final Four Beyond the Baseline event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

The Girls and Sports Impact Report provides a deep examination of the insights from fifth- through 12tth-grade girls shared in The Girls' Index™ to unveil the differences between girls who report being involved in sports and their non-sports-playing peers. Research findings include:

  • Girls who play sports report higher levels of confidence at all ages. Initial findings from The Girls’ Index found that girls experience a significant drop in confidence throughout middle school, however girls who play sports report confidence at consistently higher rates from 5th-12th grade. Specifically, in the 12h grade, female athletes experience a substantial increase (72 percent report being a confident person) not observed in their peer group (57 percent report being a confident person).
  • Girls who play sports have higher GPAs and have higher opinions of their abilities and competencies. Sixty-one percent of high school girls who have a grade point average above 4.0 play on a sports team. Additionally, girls who are involved in sports are 14 percent more likely to believe they are smart enough for their dream career and 13 percent more likely to be considering a career in math and/or science.
  • The Girls' Index™ found that girls who spend the most time using technology (8+ hours/day) are five times more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours. Overall, female athletes use social media at lower rates than their peers and also experience less sadness and depression.

To watch a video on the findings of “The Girls Index” visit this link.

“Girls experience tremendous challenges with confidence, relationships and aspirations during their adolescent years. However, girls who participate on a sports team are more likely to have learned healthy ways to handle stressful situations, have more effective and supportive friendships with other girls and have increased career and leadership aspirations,” said Dr. Hinkelman.  “Participating in athletics can be an important tool to help girls navigate adolescence.”

“We have always known that hosting the Women’s Final Four would create wonderful opportunities for Columbus to shine in the national spotlight, said Greater Columbus Sports Commission Executive Director Linda Logan. “But, this marquee event has also provided us the inspiration to learn more about how participation in sports positively affects the well-being of girls. Through the meaningful work of ROX and the Girls index we have learned just how impactful this relationship can be.”

ICYMI: The Girls' Index™ Informs Conversations About Education, Parenting and Technology

The findings of The Girls' Index™ have resonated with reporters, parents and teachers alike since the release in Oct. 2017. Influencers from across the country continue to engage with the key topics from the study-- leadership, confidence, technology, sexting and friendship.

We were proud to be named among the 10 Charts That Changed the Way We Think About America’s Schools in 2017, by The 74 Million. Check out the thought leadership of ROX and The Girls' Index™ findings as featured in:

Join us as we engage all in the empowerment of girls!

At ROX, we believe that we all have an opportunity to help create a world that is more supportive and empowering for girls. Now more than ever, we want to create generations of confident girls who control their own relationships, experiences, decisions and futures.

Join us on Thursday, April 19 at The Hub on Kenny for a fun & educational culinary and cocktail experience and help support the organization that is helping change the world for girls.

Event sponsored by Express Scripts, Premium Beverage and Scali Ristorante.                                RSVP today:

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ROX Draws a crowd at sxsw EDU

The ROX team connected with the thousands of educators, professionals and business leaders that attended SXSWedu last week in Austin, TX. The week kicked off with a coveted solo speaker session by ROX Founder/Executive Director, Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, entitled "Selfies, Sexts & Self-Esteem: Girls & Social Media." It was clear that educators from across the country were desperately seeking resources to address this topic, evidenced by the 200-300 conference attendees waiting in line to access one of the 60 available seats. 

The excitement continued with an official book signing, recognizing Lisa's work in Girls Without Limits: Helping Girls Achieve Healthy Relationships, Academic Success & Interpersonal Strength and engagement opportunities with ROX experts in the Learning Expo. Later in the week, the ROX team had the opportunity to connect with administrative leaders from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy and Girlstart. 

A huge thank you to Sean Cavanagh who published a feature in Education Week about The Girls' Index and the ROX impact at SXSWedu 2018! 

Look who is talking about The Girls' Index...

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Since the release of The Girls' Index, the largest study of its kind, people across the country are sharing the findings with parents, teachers, counselors, educators and stakeholders in their networks and communities. Check out The Girls' Index as featured in:

PRESS RELEASE: ROX Completes the Largest National Study of its Kind

Largest Study of its Kind Says Even Girls with a Perfect GPA Don’t Think They Are Smart Enough, and Half of Girls Don’t Speak their Mind for Fear of Being Disliked

Groundbreaking Survey of 10,000+ U.S. Girls Unveils Surprising Data on Self-Esteem, the Role of Technology and Girls’ Aspirations for the Future

COLUMBUS, OHIO — Oct. 6, 2017 —Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc. (ROX) announced findings from a first-of-its-kind study, The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls, which surveyed 10,678 girls across the nation about key issues from social media and technology, to relationships and academics. This new report by the Columbus, Ohio-headquartered nonprofit organization provides a comprehensive portrait for parents and educators of the thoughts, beliefs and behaviors of girls across the country.

The in-depth survey captures insights on fifth through 12th grade girls’ perceptions and experiences around fitting in, body image, peer pressure, academics, friendships and relationships. Research findings include:

  • Most girls like to be in charge, but self-doubt can impact pursuit of leadership opportunities as 46 percent of girls report they don’t say what they are thinking or disagree with others because they want to be liked and one in three girls are afraid to be a leader as they don’t want others to think they are bossy
  • High academic achievement does not fend off confidence challenges as 30 percent of girls with the highest reported grade point averages (4.0 or above) do not think they are smart enough for their dream careers
  • Technology and social media impact girls’ relationships, achievement, confidence, mood and school engagement. Overall when asked about technology usage, girls who spend the most time using technology (8+ hrs./day) are 5x more likely to be sad or depressed nearly every day compared to the girls who spend four or fewer hours
  • By high school, sexting is common and prevalent with two out of every three girls reporting that by 12th grade they have been asked to send a sexually explicit photo to another person
  • Girls who have strong and trusting friendships with other girls fare better and report significantly lower levels of sadness and depression

Since girls who have strong and trusting friendships fare better, it is crucial that girls receive the opportunities and tools they need to forge the positive friendships that safeguard their emotions and experiences. Through evidence-based programming, ROX provides girls with opportunities to talk candidly and openly about their experiences, while arming them with tools to positively and safely use social media, navigate relationships and manage pressure to ultimately develop a positive self-concept.

While much research exists on the economic status, health trends, safety and crime victimization and risk behavior of teens, little data exists that delves deeper into the lived experiences of today’s girls. This study gave girls the platform to share their thoughts and opinions on a variety of issues currently impacting their lives.

 “The bottom line is that we’re missing out on at least half of what girls think, know and believe,” shares Lisa Hinkelman, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director of ROX “When I look at our findings, I think about the creativity, contributions and impact that we are losing. Now that we know, we have an obligation to do better and a responsibility to make the world a place where girls can feel confident and capable.”

The issues that impact girls during their early years can affect subsequent stages of their development, decisions, relationships and aspirations. The robust data from the nearly 11,000 girls surveyed through The Girls’ Index: New Insights into the Complex World of Today’s Girls provides the knowledge and data required to provide effective education, programming and resources to diverse girls across the country.

Access the full research brief. 



ROX convened an interdisciplinary team of counselors, school counselors, principals, parents,

teachers, public administration professionals, education policy professionals, social scientists, attorneys, researchers, educators — and of course girls— to review existing instrumentation, technical reports, research and published literature on the status of girls in the United States and to prioritize areas of interest, concern and inquiry. Taking the general categories identified by the group, the team then convened a series of semi-structured focus groups with girls, parents, counselors and educators to further develop the areas of focus and to craft the specific questions to include in the survey.

After developing this initial series of questions, The Girls’ Index: New Insights Into the Complex World of Today’s Girls was reviewed by scholars and educators for developmental appropriateness and cultural competence and was subsequently piloted with 668 girls. Their feedback and results were utilized to further refine the survey questions and the final The Girls’ Index: New Insights Into the Complex World of Today’s Girls survey consisted of 78 questions. Most questions were scaled from: Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree with several open-ended questions included.

ROX partnered with individual schools and districts throughout the country to administer this anonymous and voluntary survey to girls in grades 5-12 during 2016 and 2017. Surveys were available for electronic or paper-pencil completion and independent data scientists compiled and normed the data for review and analysis. Each participating school received a confidential summary report on the responses from their female students. Areas of inquiry included: self-esteem and confidence, body image, friendships and relationships, stress and pressure, leadership and career aspirations, school and academics, technology and social media.


About Ruling Our eXperiences: Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc. (ROX) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Emerging from a 2006-2011 faculty research study at The Ohio State University, the mission of ROX is to equip girls with the knowledge and skills needed to live healthy, independent, productive and violence-free lives. Our vision is to create generations of confident girls who can control their own relationships, experiences and decisions. We utilize research and evidence-based programming to simultaneously impact girls, educate and support the adult influencers in girls’ lives and improve the societal conditions that have the potential to negatively impact girls.

About Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, Ph.D.:  Dr. Lisa Hinkelman, Ph.D. is the founder and executive director of Ruling Our eXperiences, Inc. (ROX). She is a counselor, educator, researcher and author of the award-winning book, ‘Girls Without Limits: Helping Girls Achieve Healthy Relationships, Academic Success and Interpersonal Strength‘ Corwin Press, 2013. Dr. Hinkelman’s work for the past decade has focused on the critical issues impacting girls and how schools, parents and educators can effectively support and encourage girls’ interpersonal, educational and career growth. Previously, as a Counselor Education faculty member at The Ohio State University, Dr. Hinkelman’s teaching and scholarly research focused on social and emotional learning, non-academic barriers that impact learning and girls’ self-concept development. She was selected as a Nominated Changemaker for The White House United State of Women and is a Draper, Richards, Kaplan Social Entrepreneur Fellow.