“Girls in Technology Day” aims to inspire girls to pursue STEM careers

The NH Department of Education and the NH High Tech Council hosted three “Girls in Technology Day” events throughout the state to help get girls interested in science and technology, reported the Concord Monitor. Over 800 students participated in the events, with 250 attending the most recent NHGITD event at Manchester Community College.

Despite making up 50% of the workforce, only 15% of engineers and 25% of workers in computer and mathematical sciences are women. National initiatives like the National Girls Collaborative Project are working to get more girls interested in STEM, but local events like NHGITD are connecting girls with STEM opportunities in their communities.

The workshop day features engineers, scientists, and programmers that share their craft and encourage high schoolers to pursue careers in STEM.

Melissa Dunham, who works at the Microsoft store in Salem, attended as part of Microsoft’s initiative to get more women involved in the field:

“I go to a lot of schools, I work with a lot of groups, I do see how heavily weighted the technology courses and classes tend to be toward younger boys. If I go to teach a class, it will be probably 15 percent girls and the rest will be boys.”

“You get them interested in the actual gaming aspect and then you tell them, oh hey, you can make this, you can create this. Is that something you’d be interested in? And of course, their eyes get wide, and I can build something like this, my own game, my own characters.”

Katie D’Avella is a freshman at Manchester School of Technology. She told the Monitor why she came to the event:

“Really, I just want to show that girls can do things with technology and just show that you don’t have to be a certain gender to branch out into a certain career.”

“Just kids around me, guys who were also in robotics telling me I couldn’t do this because I was a girl and I should be painting my nails, brushing my hair, being girly. I feel like some people are just stuck in stereotypes and I want to break that.”

Software engineer Nicole Phillips taught a workshop on how to develop apps. At her company in Portsmouth, she said she’s one of five female engineers–out of 200:

“At first, you’re really intimidated. You think there are just so many men here and you think they’ll treat you different. They really don’t. They’re just like any other person there. I think it’s getting better. We’re hiring more females as we’re going here.”

The event in Manchester was one of three originally scheduled events. Check out these photos of one of the events, courtesy of the event’s Facebook page:

Read the full article here.