In Spring, Credera Chicago facilitated a technical workshop with TechGirlz called “Modeling Complex Systems”. The workshop was outlined through a curriculum TechGirlz calls “TechShop in a Box”, in which all of the lesson plans and activities are already lined up for the company leaders so they can seamlessly host an educational, fun, and virtual workshop for 25 middle school girls across the country. During this workshop, the girls worked with a block coding system to build a model of an epidemic. Credera was happily encouraged for their volunteer work with the student engagement and interest in the workshop material. The company was so happy with the results of the workshop and found that TechGirlz aligned heavily with their people-oriented values and in creating a space for students to explore. After the workshop, Credera has a lot of interest in repeating this event virtually and wants to spark more interest in STEM topics for students. The full article was originally published April 15, 2021 on Credera.
Partnering With TechGirlz
TechGirlz provides all the materials needed to facilitate a workshop through their “TechShop in a Box.” The TechShop in a Box curriculum outlines the lesson plans and provides presentation materials, activity sheets, and tips for how to best engage with the students. TechGirlz offers 50 different workshops ranging from basic to advanced difficulty levels and encourages organizers to choose topics based on both subject matter expertise as well as their passion for exploring.
The general format for a workshop is as follows:
- Virtual: Hosted over WebEx for two hours.
- Volunteers: Led by six volunteers with two or three co-leading the workshop material and two to three as tech support in the chat and break-out rooms.
- Students: 25-40 middle school girls from across North America.
THE WORKSHOP: MODELING COMPLEX SYSTEMS
Credera chose the “Modeling Complex Systems” workshop based on its real-world application to the COVID-19 pandemic. By using relatable examples, students could explore some of the terms they may be hearing on the news or ask questions about how new variables can introduce change.
Students’ Reactions to Creating Simulations
Throughout the entire lesson the input from the participants was remarkable, with many speaking up to provide input in building the experiment but also asking “what if?” and further exploring the power of modeling.
The student engagement was encouraging for the team as volunteers, because as the students completed several practice runs, their interest and engagement in coding the model really emphasized the workshop’s impact.
OUR TEAM’S REFLECTION
While our volunteers are not experts in modeling, they were able to provide these young girls with a space to learn computational science through a creative and fun outlet. By volunteering to teach this lesson, the team’s goal was to create long-term interest in the students to explore STEM topics and fields they wouldn’t otherwise consider.
Overall, the experience was worthwhile and made easier thanks to the preparation, marketing, and partnership of the TechGirlz organization. This is an opportunity that any company looking to make a community impact could do on an ad-hoc basis or as a reoccurring event in a virtual, work-from-home environment.
Making an Impact Through Education
At Credera, our people have a passion for community service opportunities. We have an even stronger passion for opportunities that provide educational access to community members. Thanks to TechGirlz and the reach of the virtual workshop, Credera was able to share its passion for technology and its application to 25 girls across the U.S. and Canada.