ORCSGirls TechPodz

Screenshot of young women on a virtual call

Techpodz is a unique opportunity for girls interested in technology to build friendships while learning tech skills and a chance for passionate tech enthusiasts to share their knowledge while building a sense of community. Thomas Proffen, the founder of Oak Ridge Computer Science Girls (ORCS Girls) and TechGirlz volunteer, has hosted several TechShops and decided that he and his team would accept the challenge of hosting their first TechPod. Thomas and the ORCSGirls team ran a virtual TechPod in April with 11 girls. Proffen shared some insights about their experience to encourage other organizations and companies to run their own TechPodz.

“With this being my first hosted TechPod I was not sure what to expect. However, I enjoyed every minute of it. Interacting with a smaller group and seeing them at multiple sessions in a row was very rewarding. It started off varied with some girls fully engaging and some being quiet. As the sessions went on, girls got more engaged.”

When asked what advice he would share with others hosting a TechPod, Proffen shared these tips:

  • Have a ‘theme’ – connecting topics of a few TechShopz across the TechPod – for example, they used Python and created art and music with code
  • Don’t try to combine too many different topics
  • Leave enough time for fun activities – especially sessions after school that need fun elements

Proffen and his team repeatedly said the favorite and most memorable part of running the TechPod for them and the girls were working with and getting to know a smaller group of girls over multiple sessions. They encourage other organizations, companies, and afterschool programs looking to make an impact on the future by inspiring girls to explore the possibilities in tech to learn more about how easy it is to run a virtual or in-person TechPodz. Visit https://www.techgirlz.org/techpodz/ for more information.