“IT Is for Girls,” a one-week summer day camp presented by the Greensboro Branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is inspiring more girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“AAUW Greensboro proudly supports STEM education and career opportunities, especially for girls and underrepresented populations,” said AAUW Greensboro President-Elect Laura Tew. “We hope our program will encourage more girls to see themselves in STEM careers.”
On July 29, 2019, AAUW Greensboro and University Libraries will welcome 65 rising fifth through ninth grade girls to UNC Greensboro to participate in a technology outreach program focusing on STEM. Students will participate in four sessions sponsored by grants from the National Center of Women in IT (NCWIT) AspireIT and AAUW Greensboro, as well as enrichment programs in robotics, film design, film production and career options.
“The summer day camp engages middle school students through several hands-on technology and leadership activities,” said UNCG Digital Media Technician Alyssa Wharton. “Highlighting the technology and resources available to students in the Digital Media Commons is a win-win for University Libraries and the community at large.”
Recent data shows the STEM labor market needs women. Although women make up nearly half of all employees in the U. S. economy, they hold only 29 percent of STEM jobs. Women are particularly underrepresented in the computing and engineering fields, where they represent 26 percent and 12 percent of workers, respectively. Women of color face an even greater lack of representation, African American and Hispanic women accounting for only two percent of engineers.
“Unconscious gender bias is a significant barrier to girls’ progress in STEM,” said Tew. “We understand that early education plays a critical role for girls’ development, setting the stage for their level of interest, confidence and achievements, particularly in STEM.”
“IT Is for Girls” began in 2009 at UNC Greensboro. Each session of the day camp is led by high school and college-aged mentors, many of whom were former “IT Is for Girls” attendees in previous years. To date, the program has been funded by NCWIT, AAUW Greensboro and Lincoln Financial Group among others.