Written by volunteer writer Amy Freeman
TechGirlz volunteer Janel Kinlaw knows what it’s like to be one of the only women in the room. She decided to study computers and technology in college on the recommendation of her high school computer teacher and ended up earning a bachelor’s of science in information systems.
Today, she owns a consulting company that provides workflow analysis and project management support. She describes her role as “half tech support, half business analyst.” One project she’s currently working on involves helping a team tweak their configuration and leverage a software platform more efficiently.
Her time in college “wasn’t easy,” she says, as she was “one of the only girls in [her] major.” Even now, she notes that women still face challenges in the tech field, particularly when it comes to getting respect for their roles on a team if they aren’t known as “Director” or “Vice President.”
Looking back, she wishes that there had been a program to introduce her (and other girls) to STEM material at a younger age.That’s why she volunteers with TechGirlz now, to help create more opportunities for middle school girls in the technology world.
Janel got involved with TechGirlz a year ago, after attending the Women in Tech summit. She volunteered to create and send out the monthly newsletter for TechGirls programs in the Triangle area. Later on, she volunteered as a teaching assistant before eventually teaching her own workshop.
During her time teaching workshops, Janel has been pleasantly surprised by how enthusiastic the girls who attend the programs are. She wishes that other people knew how valuable the programs offered by TechGirlz are and that it provides lots of opportunities to help young girls get familiar and comfortable with technology.
“Volunteering with TechGirlz is rewarding and is a wonderful way to give back to the young girls in your community,” she says.
When she’s not running her own business or teaching a workshop with TechGirlz, Janel volunteers with other non-profits in the Triangle area. She’s also a mom to three girls.
Want to help inspire the next generation of women in tech? Sign up as a TechGirlz volunteer today!