[This post originally appeared on CompTech at UNH Manchester’s blog here: http://comptech.unh.edu/2014/03/21/building-an-army-of-future-women-computer-scientists/ ]
By Pauline Wilk
Statistics show that very low levels of women are entering computing technology fields. What a shame, because women bring a whole new level of creative thinking and problem solving to the table! So, UNH Manchester faculty, students, and alumni and three women computing professionals from SkillSoft, Inc. in Nashua volunteered their time on March 19th, to help spark interest at the Second Annual Girls Technology Day, held at the NHTI Concord’s Community College. Over 200 girls from grades 8 through 10, traveled from 18 different New Hampshire schools to attend four 50-minute workshops. They all got to dip their hands into a variety of different programming, engineering experiences. UNH Computing Technology professors, Mihaela Sabin and Michael Jonas, and CIS junior, Pauline Wilk, taught workshops on Game Programming with Greenfoot and Inventing Apps for Android Phones with App Inventor. UNH alumna and enterprise support engineer at Dyn, Bethany Ross, ran a workshop on Careers in Technology.
The girls saw how engaging and captivating computing and engineering can be, gained confidence in their problem solving and design abilities, and got to see that women in the computing technology field are not geeky! In fact they are beautiful, bold, creative, and smart women. We even had the support of a few men who recognize the gender gap and see the advantage of what women bring to the field. Thank you to Mary Laturnau, for transforming a concept idea she had three years ago into a successful, fast growing, and incredible event. We also thank Linda Giordano, Mary Slocum, and Veronica Payan form SkillSoft, Inc. for their role models, which girls experienced first hand during the mobile app development workshops.
Photo Credit: Kim Wall, UNH Manchester
For more information visit the event’s website http://www.girlstechnologyday.com/