Written by Sarah Ridley- Southern Teen Advisory Board member and volunteer
On January 7th, 2020 I had the pleasure of speaking during the Women in Mathematics (WAM) Mentoring Program kickoff at Durham Public Schools Staff Development Center. I had a short window to talk and was excited to share, with other young girls, how attending TechGirlz events as a middle schooler changed my life and made me more passionate and confident about my skills in technology, math, and science. The attendees seemed to be thrilled to learn that TechGirlz programs are free and how there are events all over the Triangle region at many different companies and other kinds of locations. As a member of the TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board, I am glad I can use my voice to try to spread the word about TechGirlz so more middle school girls can realize their future potential in STEM fields.
Along with participating in the Teen Advisory Board in my free time, I am also on my high school’s FRC robotics team. Joining this team was scary, because I had no idea what to expect, but also because the program is male-dominated. There are other girls on the team too, and being around them made me a lot more confident about being on the team. Without the skills that I learned through TechGirlz, not only about using technology but also about advocating for myself, I don’t think I would have been able to last on the team. This is one of the biggest reasons that I want to help other girls find the TechGirlz programs because I want them to feel like they could also belong on a robotics team just as much as any boy does. I am grateful that I got the opportunity to talk about TechGirlz at the Women in Mathematics kickoff because all of the young women there are already interested in math and I think TechGirlz would be a perfect way for them to learn even more about other STEM fields. But I also want girls who don’t feel confident in their understanding of technology, math, and science, to find the TechGirlz program, because anyone is capable of learning about STEM, given the opportunity. And that is why I love TechGirlz- the events are so accessible, educational, and fun!