Nicole Johnson | MITechNews.Com
DEARBORN – On March 19, the halls of the University of Michigan – Dearborn were packed with more than 350 young girls in grades 4 through 12 who came to learn more about technology at the Girls are IT! Conference.
The event was organized by the Michigan Council for Women in Technology (MCWT), U-M – Dearborn, Lawrence Technological University, and University of Detroit Mercy in an effort to prove that Girls are IT!
The goal of the conference was to inspire these girls to pursue a career in technology. It included a diverse choice of technology workshops, rotational visits to an interactive expo with big name technology corporate supporters, and ended with table visits from the professional community of volunteers. The event served as an introduction to technology and was intended to demonstrate why a career in technology could be fun.
The day started with female and male leaders from the educational, corporate, and volunteer community welcoming the girls and discussing the great opportunities available for women in technology. Throughout the day there were 18 workshops and 10 interactive exhibits. Sponsors included Ford, Chrysler, ANX, AT&T, Microsoft, Plantronics, and Cisco.
According to the website, the event was meant “to plant a seed in each girl…that will grow over time and with care and attention.” Some of the girls said they were more interested in cyber security after attending one of the workshops on Hacking or identity theft. Other girls walked away saying they wanting to learn more about programming after a session on game development. The diverse set of workshops and activities introduced a variety of technologies in a compact format.
The MCWT organization strives to inspire and grow young women at all stages of life for careers in technology with events similar to this. If young girls from the camp or from the community are looking for resources like this to learn more about technology, then MCWT offers camps and programs like Camp Infinity which is accepting applications now on the mcwt.com website. Camp Infinity offers a full week of technology hands-on and interactive training for young girls in four different locations around Southeast Michigan.
It is important that young girls are able to interact with women in technology careers and hear directly from them about their own experiences. According to the Department of Professional Employees, 57 percent of occupations in the workforce are held by women, in computing occupations that figure is only 25 percent. Labor market trends are difficult to predict, but both the number and proportion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) jobs are expected to grow faster than average for all occupations from 2010 to 2020.
The best way to shape the future is to reveal the great opportunities that we have for technology right here in Michigan. The smiles on the faces of the girls and the contagious excitement proved that the event was a success. It allowed young girls exposure to technologies in a fun way and also gave volunteers a chance to share their passion for their technology with them while giving back.
Learn more about Technology Activities for Girls like Camp Infinity and MCWT: Click on MCWT.Org/Camp_Infinity