STEM

Holiday Gift Ideas to Inspire Every Girl in STEM

by Linda Kekelis, Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Techbridge. Originally published in the Huffington Post here.

This Holiday Season Make Room in Your Heart for Someone Else’s Daughter

This year when you shop for a gift for the girls in your family, take a moment to think about other girls who might benefit from your generosity. Toys, computer games, books, and enrichment experiences can introduce girls to the wonders of STEM. For girls who don’t have STEM role models in their family, these gifts might be the catalyst that help them imagine a career in computer science or a future in engineering.

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"If you can see it, you can be it."

by Sasha Williams, student at Carondelet High School and member of Black Girls Code. 

“My name is Sasha Williams. I am 16 years old, and attend Carondelet High School in Concord, California. I realized my passion for technology and arts at a young age. I was introduced to “Black Girls Code” when I was 12 years old. I learned that coding was fun and could open a world of possibilities. I could combine my love for the arts and technology. I would like to become CEO of my own tech company or write and direct movies. Since joining Black Girls Code I have participated in a number of Hackathons and mobile App workshops. In 2013 my team won second place in the Ignite Global Fund for Women’s Hackathon mobile app “Ohana.” My team competed against teams around the world. I look forward to attending university with a major in Computer Science.”

Last Fall Sasha Williams (Class of 2019) was selected for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) Leaders of the Fast Track (LOFT) 2016 Video Game Innovation Fellowship sponsored by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, in Washington D.C. The ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship serves as platform for top game developers by identifying and promoting the top 20 minority innovators (15-25 years old) who can create video games or mobile apps that will focus on new, technology-based approaches to address local and global social issues. 

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Dr. Carol talks Empowerment, Self-esteem and Women in Tech

by Dr. Carol, originally published on her blog here

Listen to this recent interview with Dr. Carol where she talks about empowerment, self-esteem and women in tech: https://soundcloud.com/breakingintostartups/59-dr-carol-langlois-how-self-esteem-empowerment-are-changing-the-ratio-through-hackbright

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My Time at Tech Trek

by Catherine Zhou, student and alum of Tech Trek sponsored by AAUW San Francisco. 

To start off I would like to thank you and the rest of the San Francisco AAUW Branch for giving me this chance to attend the best camp ever! Even though I didn't get into Tech Trek at Stanford, I'm really lucky to have gotten in at all. 

On the way to Fresno I was really nervous, I thought to myself did I bring too much stuff? Will I make any friends? Will anyone think I'm really weird? Will I be homesick? I was just so nervous! But when I got there I had a sigh of relief, everybody seemed nice and I don't think I was the only nervous one. 

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No Elephant in the Room at Women's Tech Confab

by Roberta Guise, Founder and President of FemResources. A version of this article appeared in Women Who Code blog here.

The conference floor at Twitter headquarters in San Francisco transformed into a magnet to aspiring and future software engineers this past April. The mostly-women attendees had gathered for a day-long tech-fest of sharing, learning, and networking at the Women Who Code CONNECT 2017 conference.

As founder and president of Alliance member FemResources, a startup nonprofit to advance women’s careers in technology and engineering and move the needle towards gender equality in tech, I attended to glean deeper insights into the needs, wants and aspirations of women seeking a technical career. I also happened to be “citizen journalist” for the day.

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5 Innovative Camps Introducing Girls To Tech Careers 

by Kara Sammet, Inclusion & Leadership Strategist. Originally published here. 

Girls are less likely than boys to be told by parents and teachers that they would be good at computer science. Girls are also less likely to participate in extracurricular tech programs and less aware of how to learn computer science via the internet. Yet, tech sector jobs are among the highest-paying occupations for women. Just as important, technology provides a powerful medium for girls and women to create meaningful solutions to global problems and to tell stories that shape how we view the world.

Here are five summer programs to help you encourage a girl to create, design, play and change the world through tech.

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Promoting Change in the Film Industry

by Clarissa, Student Board Member at Camp Reel Stories

I’ve gone to Camp Reel Stories three times so far and plan on going for a fourth time this summer. It’s become a tradition of sorts to attend camp, make a film, and watch it spread throughout the country to various film festivals and onto people’s screens, whether those are found on their phones, on their computers, or in movie theaters. I cannot confidently say that I will go into the film industry when I grow older, but I can say that I have found a sense of community through the camp and gained inspiration from strong women, who prove everyday that they have what it takes to compete with men in a male dominated industry. 

Ten, twenty years ago, not many girls could have said they have such a large support system or find such inspiration from the women around them. Today, while we have strong female role models, when one compares the female to male ratio in the film, tech, sales, finance, culinary, mathematical, and political industry- to name a few, we females still fall far behind men. To not just know one strong female but a whole community of powerful women, whose shared goal is to change an industry, is incredibly important to me. To have a community and a group that helps me grow as a woman and as a filmmaker, to have a support system, and to feel like I’m a part of something innovative, something that is making an impact that grows every year, is something I’m very grateful for because change is important and change has been slowly increasing for years. I am confident that with help from Camp Reel Stories and other organizations promoting change and the support of minorities, I will see an industry that isn’t dominated by a single gender or ethnic group in my lifetime.

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Want to Raise a Rocket Scientist? 20 Holiday Gifts to Give Girls a Head Start

by Kara Sammet & Linda Kekelis. Originally published in the Huffington Post here.

If you’re like us, you’re on a mission to empower girls to be the leaders and creators of tomorrow, by encouraging them in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) today. STEM offers girls limitless opportunities to design and develop the technology we’ll all use in the future – whether we’re traveling to Mars or saving planet Earth. So, we’ve sought out fun holiday gift ideas that support girls’ creativity, confidence and leadership as they change the world through STEM.


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2016 MAGIC Final Presentations

by the mentees and mentors at MAGIC (More Active Girls In Computing)

We are proud to be able to share the videos from MAGIC's 2016 Final Presentations! The 2015-2016 MAGIC mentoring season concluded on June 17th, with the last round of final presentations from the 2015-2016 mentees. Fifteen mentees came from all over California to partake in these presentations. A majority of these mentees found out about MAGIC from sources outside their schools, while a few came from one of our partner schools, Oak Grove High School, in South San Jose. This event was sponsored by Google, and the presentations were held at Google HQ in Mountain View (for more information, see the news from June 2016).

Mentee Iris Cheung, mentored by Catherine Wah:



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MAGIC Joins Obama's "Computer Science for All" Initiative

by Magreth Mushi, Volunteer at MAGIC (More Active Girls In Computing). A version of this article was posted on MAGIC's website.

Today MAGIC is excited  to be part of President Obama’s Computer Science for All Initiative. This is the President’s bold new initiative to empower all American students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science and be equipped with the computational thinking skills they need to be creators in the digital economy, not just consumers, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world.

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Q&A with Marta Mendoza

Interview with Marta Mendoza, freshman at Immaculate Conception High School, about her experiences at AAUWSF's Tech Trek Science Camp


What was the Tech Trek Science Camp like?

“I was at Tech Trek's Camp Marie Curie at Stanford. They basically gave you a whole week to learn all the different types of science and math. We got to stay in the dorms and took challenging classes, including a robotics class where we had to figure out how to build and maneuver a Lego Mindstorm Mini Golf, which I’ve never done before. My favorite part was when, one of the nights, we heard from many women talking about their jobs and all the things women can do. That stuck with me because all these different women tried and they’re now at this point where they have a professional job and they’re good.”




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The "Crowding Out" Effect

by Michelle Wong, Alumna of Lowell High School and of AAUWSF's Tech Trek Science Camp


As my AP Physics C teacher begins to explain a problem, the classroom of six female students and twenty ­three male students is attentively listening.

A mistake!

I had noticed that my teacher had skipped a line of work on the whiteboard. I thought to myself, did anyone else catch that? I looked around the room. Why hasn’t anyone else spoken up?

I kept asking myself these questions until one of my male classmates, who is a particularly frequent participant in the class, raised his hand and pointed out the mistake I had noticed before.





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Front & Center: Bringing Marginalized Girls into Focus in STEM

by Kathleen Thurmond of Kathleen Thurmond LLC


On January 15th, I had the pleasure of representing Alliance for Girls at the White House conference, “Front and Center: Bringing Marginalized Girls into Focus in STEM and Career and Technical Education (CTE).” The White House Domestic Policy Council, Council on Women and Girls, The Department of Education and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality convened to discuss challenges and possible solutions to increasing the number of girls both entering STEM (science, technology, education, and math) curriculum and remaining in the field.

The conference kicked off by presenting the current realities that many of us know all too well: girls are struggling to get into and stay in STEM curriculum while girls of color are faced with even greater challenges. Sixty percent of young women who enter STEM curriculum leave before graduation to enter alternative fields, and those who stay only last an average of three years before getting out. When young women enter the tech world, they are often discouraged by the unwelcome culture dominated by white males and the lack of female role models and mentors. As a result, young women exit technology-related jobs and the tech sector loses the positive impact these young women would have lent.

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Highlighting Historic Role Models

by Catherine Baxter of Techbridge, reposted from her original post


For my role managing social media, I was really excited to write a dual story on Black History Month and Engineers Week, celebrating black female engineers whose careers and stories are inspiring to us here at Techbridge. But I have to be honest. Not only was finding women engineers of historical significance difficult, but finding women engineers of color was particularly difficult. This assignment was a stark reminder to me about why the work we do at Techbridge is imperative – to help create opportunities for women and girls of color to become engineers and be featured on lists like this one day!

The challenge I encountered while researching for this blog post was confirmed with statistics: the numbers of prominent black engineers and scientists are staggeringly low. Today, only 2 percent of African American women are represented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, while women in total make up 24 percent of the STEM workforce. These low numbers do not reflect the ability of black women in STEM, but instead represent industries that have been historically exclusive and hostile to women of color especially. We have so much respect for the women who have broken down barriers and became (or are becoming) the first in their field to reach a new height. They are the examples for girls of the next generation.


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