HARTFORD -- Women are underrepresented in stem careers, that’s science technology engineering and math. There has been an effort recently to spark a change in demographics.
At AI Prince Tech in Hartford, a group of 7th and 8th grade girls spent the day in high school, learning about the many things that a career in technology could offer them. The program is called DigiGirlz, and its goal is to inspire these students.
Daniel R. Mello, Principal at AI Prince Technical High School, explains, “computer-related industry is lacking in females, so this is an excellent opportunity to get some young ladies interested in future careers.
The day started with remarks from Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman and Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzel, both of whom spoke about their experience as women in successful careers. On the technology side of it, employees from the Microsoft Store were on hand to show these students how they can use technology to their advantage.
Michael DePalma, community development specialist at Microsoft store, told us, “today they’re exploring fresh paint to create digital art to be their own entrepreneur with our start your own business series and also code and opportunities that lie within that.”
A short but powerful video was shown, where a group of girls were asked to name famous female inventors… can you name any yourself? Then, a long list of inventions by women flashed across the screen, showing these girls that it’s not some faraway dream. This can be done.
“We give them awareness that it’s not just a male-driven society, sorry guys, it’s about the females as well.”
Patricia Mann runs the information systems and technology department at AI Prince, and told me that her curriculum gives her students a foundation for a successful career. “You don’t have to know all the answers, but you can kinda figure it out, so that’s the problem-solving thinking skills that I think is important in any job.”
And not all these students are totally sold on careers in technology yet.
Mia white, 7th grader at rice middle school, told us, “I want to be a criminal justice lawyer”
But thanks to efforts like this one from the Microsoft Store and United Way, young women know that whether you want to be a lawyer or an engineer, you’re just as welcome as men are.
Those 7th and 8th graders will head to high school in the coming years, and the hope is that after this DigiGirls event, some of them may be inspired to pursue technology careers!