Over two weeks this past July, the iSchool, in conjunction with SU’s Summer College, hosted its annual IT Girls summer program. Created in 2011 for female high school students interested in all aspects of technology, the program introduces students to topics from data, design, and management to cyber security, and social media.
Led by iSchool faculty member Laurie Ferger, the program features different events, field trips, and projects for the students to get hands-on experience in the many careers available for those interested in tech. The program also allows students to get a feel for what life in the iSchool is like and has helped many potential students pick SU.
Many notable iSchool professors and alumni make guest appearances throughout the two weeks, providing insight on the careers they have held and the industries they have worked in. These networking opportunities help students to make connections, ask questions, and get inspired to pick a career in tech. Between the format of the program and the size of it, students are able to build an SU and iSchool network, and receive individualized attention from the professors.
With a lack of female representation in the tech industry, there is a large push in the iSchool to provide women education and opportunities to bridge that gap. This program presents an opportunity for girls to get a head start on their professional and academic careers and ultimately fosters a welcoming and encouraging environment for girls to grow.
Kerry Spencer, a sophomore in the iSchool and former IT Girl herself, spoke on her experience participating in IT Girls, and her decision to become a TA for the program.
“Two of the big reasons why I decided to come to Syracuse were because of my experience with Summer College and my experience with IT Girls,” Kerry explains.
Like many other former IT Girls, Kerry credits her experience in the SU Summer College and the IT Girls program in her decision to pursue an iSchool degree at Syracuse University. The program and its alumni base continues to grow as more and more girls decide a career in tech is right for them.