Over the years there has been a growing concern with the number of women involved in IT-related professions. Information technology and other STEM related fields are continuously progressing; yet there is a huge disparity in the number of women involved in these sectors. In November, I had the opportunity to work at The IT Girls Retreat, a program created by the iSchool to spark interest in IT for high school girls. The retreat was extremely successful and most certainly showed the public that girls really “Get IT” and should be exposed to what it really means to purse an education in information technology.
It Girls Interact with Technology
One of the aspects that I really enjoyed about the program was how interactive it was. The participants covered topics such as social media, entrepreneurship, social web technologies, and presentation tools; they had an awesome time working through group projects to apply what they learned. Many of the young women were amazed at how they can utilize some of the technologies they currently use such as Facebook or Twitter to move forward initiatives in IT.
Lessons from One It Girl to Another
My experience working with the girls was seriously fun all the way around. They were genuinely excited about what they were learning, as well as being on the Syracuse University campus. I had the opportunity to teach some of the participants about entrepreneurship and what it takes to build their own businesses. I was amazed at the how much thought they put into their business ideas and how easily they were able to complete exercises that are currently being completed within college level courses here at the iSchool.
The girls had an energy that was unmatched and many showed interest in what their own futures could resemble as a student at Syracuse University. Some of the girls expressed that they had never previously considered studying information technology but are now more likely to explore the option because of their experience at the retreat. I honestly believe that this program will be the first of many steps the iSchool takes to get young women excited about technology. I can’t wait to see what’s next.