David Patrick, a DSA, Inc. Technical Specialist Trainer & Developer, recently provided insight into how his family and company joined forces to provide monthly TechGirlz workshops for their community. In the article and subsequent TEDx talk, he explains how middle school girls can be inspired and empowered to pursue STEM. The full article was originally published July 23, 2019 on Microsoft’s Diversity and Tech Blog.
My teenage son and daughter were both getting more and more interested in computers and technology, but I was noticing […] the attendance at these events was overwhelming male and my daughter was feeling a little out of place at times. After a little research, I found out that this is sadly all too common and as a result, there is a drastic need for more women in STEM. For this reason, my daughter and I decided to get involved with an organization called TechGirlz and started running our own STEM events specifically directed at young ladies in the critical middle school age demographic. Research has shown that it’s at this time in their lives that they tend to lose interest in STEM.
So, for the last three years, my daughter and I have been running what’s called TechShopz in a Box.
These workshops allow us to quickly learn a technology, and then turn around and teach that technology to the group of girls that we are working with – in our case, members of the local Boys & Girls Club. The girls were cautious at first, but once they were given the chance to understand the concepts, they embraced the technology and quickly gained confidence and began asking questions, demonstrating a thirst for more. This was very encouraging to see.
Following that, I did a TEDx talk on how these girls and their enthusiasm inspire me daily to continue doing these workshops, how they have re-ignited my own excitement about technology (for example, making and playing games created using Microsoft’s Kodu platform), and how their exuberance about technology has made me realize that there’s a whole segment of the population that we need to get and keep involved, simply because they are so passionate about STEM.
See our coverage of David’s TEDx Talk here.