role models

Alumnae of Lokey School of Business and Public Policy at Mills College

by Lokey School of Business and Public Policy at Mills College, with perspectives from their alumnae

"There's no such thing as average at Mills College!"

Photo: Group of students in the Lokey School of Business and Public Policy program at Mills College

There's no such thing as average at Mills College! Mills students are one-of-a-kind, celebrating diversity in all forms. Founded in 1852 by California pioneers who wanted a quality education for their daughters, Mills College has been pushing the boundaries of gender equity and expression for over 150 years. Mills reaffirmed its commitment to women's education in 1990, when a student- and alumnae-led strike convinced the college's trustees to reverse plans to admit male undergraduates, while in 2014 Mills became the first women's college to implement an admission policy for transgender and gender-questioning students. (Graduate programs at Mills have included men since the 1920s.)

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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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Cheering Her On: A Little Sister Prepares for New Adventures Ahead

by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, originally published on their blog here

Fall is fast approaching which means many students are readying themselves for big life transitions such as going off to college. Although it’s exciting, it’s also a time of significant life choices and major change. No one knows that better than Little Sister, Kashari, who has worked hard to get to this stage of life.

In her senior year of high school, Kashari held an internship with the District Attorney’s Justice Academy, kept her grades up, and snagged a Scholarship honor in the process. She also applied to colleges, resulting in quite a few options to choose from! Kashari credits her Big Sister, Julie, with keeping her focused while helping her to be open minded about different ways of thinking and approaching new situations.

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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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Disney's Moana Can Help You Tune In To Your Internal Voice

by Simone Marean, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Girls Leadership. Originally published here.

As I watched Moana with my son, I was so grateful that this was his Disney starting point. Mine was falling in love with Cinderella dropping her glass slipper, and waiting to be saved. He gets to watch a strong young woman save her people.

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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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Book Review of Naomi Katz's Beautiful: Becoming an Empowered Young Woman

by Paulina Sicius, Public Relations Intern at Alliance for Girls

Image result for beautiful becoming an empowered young woman 

In her book, Beautiful: Becoming an Empowered Young Woman, Naomi Katz is right: being a teenage girl is one of the most stressful things in the world. Naomi perfectly captures the anxiety associated with fitting in, cliques, alcohol and drugs, sex, and insecurities.

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Girls on the Run of Silicon Valley Volunteer Spotlight

by Girls on the Run of Silicon Valley

Heart & Sole coach Abby Lopes (pictured right) at the 2015 Girls on the Run 5K.Heart & Sole coach Abby Lopes (pictured right) at the 2015 Girls on the Run 5K.

Volunteers are the backbone of Girls on the Run! To highlight their efforts, we spotlight a different Girls on the Run volunteer each month. This month's superstar volunteer: Abby Lopes, a three-year Heart & Sole coach at Sheppard Middle School in San Jose (Heart & Sole is our Girls on the Run middle school program).

Check out the interview with Abby below!

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Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

Post by Smruti Aravind, former Video Editor of Career Girls. Originally published in Career Girls' blog here.

It’s National Women’s Health Week, and a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves that our physical and mental health should be a priority, despite all our other responsibilities. It’s pretty straightforward to remember to schedule a checkup with your gynecologist, but navigating the maze of mental health can be more daunting.

The Alliance for Girls’ 4th Annual Conference featured a workshop that discussed tools you can use to make it easier. Social and Emotional Learning, or SEL, is an important component of academic and life success. SEL Tools can be put into practice beginning in grade school to help both girls and boys thrive, and are useful at any age.

You can practice the 5 core competencies of SEL by yourself, or in a small group:

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Halliana, An Oasis Shero!

Interview with Halliana, a junior at Burton High School who just completed Oasis for Girls' ENVISION Career Exploration Program this Spring. She lives with her mom and two siblings in San Francisco's Excelsior neighborhood. She was interviewed by Oasis for Girls' Executive Director, Jessica Van Tuyl.

Jessica: Why did you decide to join Oasis?

Halliana: I kept staying after school to avoid going home, but I didn't want to participate in anything because I was afraid it wouldn't impact me. One of my friends was applying to Oasis, so I joined with her. At Oasis, I met other young women, we talked about our lives, and I realized I could actually trust people!

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Q&A with Vanessa Miller

Interview with Vanessa Miller, a 7th grader participating in Girls Leading Girls and its girls' competitive soccer club, SF Sol. She recently placed first at the December 5K hosted by Girls On The Run Bay Area.

How long have you been with Girls Leading Girls?

"I have been with girls leading girls for about 1/2 a year."

What do you get to do there? What do you like most about it?

"SF Sol is a soccer team that has leadership classes as well. I get to play and develop my soccer skills and this summer we're going to go to Nicaragua on a service trip. I like my coaches, and everyone on the team is really nice."

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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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From Body Hatred to Self-Love

by Connie Sobczak, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Body Positive, originally published in Media Planet

At age 19, I was forced to drop out of college by a life-threatening eating disorder, dashing my plans to become a computer engineer. Thankfully, I conquered bulimia and graduated from college. My sister Stephanie was not so lucky. Her obsession with thinness led to her death in her mid-30s, leaving two young children without a mother and our family shattered and grieving.

A Dangerous Path

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Q&A with Liana Thomason

by Liana Thomason, Founder of Berkeley High's BHS Stop Harassing club & Speaker at Alliance for Girls' 3rd Annual Conference

How did you prepare for your GirlTalk?

I worked with [Alliance for Girls Director] Emma Mayerson to perfect my GirlTalk. I prepared a speech about founding and working with BHS Stop Harassing -- what we did, what was easy, what was hard, what it meant to me to do activist work. Emma and I reviewed the speech, cutting out unnecessary parts and creating a slideshow to accompany it. I also met with a voice coach shortly before the conference, to practice the speech out loud."

How was your experience giving the speech?

I had so much fun giving the speech! This was my first big public speaking engagement -- and I found out that I love public speaking! I loved connecting with the audience members and eliciting a response from them. The experience was amazing, and I am so excited to give another speech, whenever that may be.

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Q&A with Ana Diosdado

by Ana Nicole diosdado Gonzalez, Activist, Mission Girl, & Speaker at Alliance for Girls' 3rd Annual Conference

How did you prepare for your GirlTalk?

This experience was new and exciting for me. I had done public speaking in the past but not at this level. The preparation was challenging and a lot of work, but I had a lot of fun. I had to really put a lot of thought into what I was writing and how I wanted to tell my story. I learned a lot from my mentor and I acquired new writing and public speaking skills. Everything that made it in my speech came from the bottom of my heart.

How was your experience giving the speech?

Giving the speech was nerve-racking! When I stood at the podium in front of all those women, I felt like I was in a do-or-die situation -- no turning back now! I spoke with confidence, and even though I stumbled through a few words, my message came across clearly. In the end, it was an amazing experience to be able to share my story to this room full of loving women.

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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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Why do girls apologize for everything? Stop saying you're sorry!

by Carol Langlois of Dr. Carol

When a person says they are sorry, they are telling someone that they are remorseful. The message sent is that they feel badly for what they have done. The word sorry isn’t hard to say for many people, but for some people, mainly young women, they seem to say sorry way too often. The big question is: Why do young girls feel it is necessary to say sorry for things that don’t require an apology?

Generally speaking, girls are typically more apologetic than boys, but it doesn’t mean they are any more remorseful. Girls seem to give out apologies within the broader context of a conversation, where boys typically do not. There is also a cultural expectation that girls will be more accommodating than boys, and sadly many girls live up to that expectation. Overtime, apologies become repetitive, habit-forming and expected by others. Girls can lose sight of why they are even apologizing.

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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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