Written by volunteer instructor Mary Liu and volunteer writer Amy Freeman
I first heard about TechGirlz from someone at the Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women (ACM-W), which inspired me to get in touch with Rebecca Crites and Eric Vo, who lead the program at Temple University. I then served as a TA during a Microsoft Touch Develop workshop and eventually taught several other workshops, including A Day in the Life of a Web Designer.
I didn’t think that I wanted to be a teacher before I began volunteering with TechGirlz. I’ve now realized that teaching is something I would love to keep doing. After teaching many workshops, I’ve developed my own way of instructing the girls. Sometimes, I have them follow the instructions on the slides. Other times, I teach from the slides, demonstrating what to do as I go along. The girls then follow my lead.
My favorite part of a workshop is at the beginning, when we introduce ourselves and get to know each other! The next best part of the workshop is teaching the girls individually because of the small classroom size. It gives me the chance to provide an in-depth and custom lesson to each student! Everyone learns in a different way, so working one-on-one with each student helps them to understand the topic. If I were to do anything differently, I would have the girls work together more often it’s important to learn how to collaborate, not just in technology, but in the world in general.
It’s not only the girls who learn a lot during the workshops, they have a lot to teach me, too. My educational background trained me to approach problems in a certain way. The girls I’ve worked with always think of a different approach, which never would have occurred to me! I’m so excited to see who these girls become.
One thing I love about TechGirlz is that it exposes girls to tech opportunities from a young age. When I was in high school, no one ever told me that I could do something in technology other than use it. I wish I knew it was even a possibility to join the technical movement! It was not until the end of high school that I started getting involved in tech.
I hadn’t considered majoring in a tech subject until my sister, Sandra, encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. Although I was initially interested in majoring in something having to do with the environment, she convinced me that technology’s reach meant that I would be able to combine the two.
Right now, I’m majoring in Data Science with a concentration in computational analytics. I hope that one day, I’ll be able to use big data and machine learning to have a positive effect on the environment.
If I could share my love of technology with someone it would most likely be my mom because she does not know how to use a computer and needs help figuring out the features on her phone. Technology plays such an important role in our everyday lives, that I think it’s important that everyone, young and old, know how to use it.
Want to experience instructing or assisting a TechGirlz workshop like Mary? Visit our Volunteer page to get started.