Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, our science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workforce is crucial to America’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness. Yet women are vastly underrepresented in STEM jobs and among STEM degree holders despite making up nearly half of the U.S. workforce and half of the college-educated workforce. Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. The goal is to inspire confidence in our girls and empower them to pursue a career in STEM, if they so choose.
EmpowHer Institute believes that “if our girls can see it, they can be it.” We know that exposing girls to STEM early and often increases the likelihood that they will see STEM as a viable area of study and/or career option. For this reason, we collaborate with dozens of organizations, including Google (LA); SpaceX; Southern California Edison; National Center for Women in Information & Technology (NCWIT) and UCLA’s Advancing Women in Science and Engineering (AWiSE), to provide opportunities for EmpowHer girls to participate in STEM related workshops, projects, summer camps, and conferences.
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UCLA’s Advancing Women in Science and Engineering (AWiSE) STEM Day
Every year, AWiSE partners with the EmpowHer Institute to host a day of hands-on science activities for middle school girls. The events span a broad range of subjects including life sciences, physical sciences, math, and engineering. The goal of AWiSE STEM day is to inspire confidence and to encourage girls to pursue careers in STEM fields.
EmpowHer Leaders Academy (ELA) girls attended Junior Innovation Camp at the Wonder Women Tech Conference. They enjoyed the experience of meeting new people, working in groups, and learning about creating content and digital film making. ELA girls quickly applied what they learned by creating a storyboard and making a five-minute video. In addition to Junior Innovation Camp, our girls visited companies like Google, Nation Builder, and Molina Health to learn about careers. Attending the conference exposed our girls to women pioneers in technology, and career opportunities in the field.
EmpowHer Institute provided scholarships for EmpowHer girls to attend Digital Media Academy at the University of California Los Angeles. Digital Media Academy is a week- long Summer tech camp that provides students with STEM education and hands-on learning experiences. Students learn electronic music production, modeling and animation for game design, and 3D art from industry professionals and educators. The also stay in the dorms and eat in the dining halls to experience what it’s like to live on a college campus.
“Computer science education is a pathway to innovation, to creativity and to exciting career opportunities, and Google believes that all students deserve these opportunities. That is why we are committed to developing programs, resources, tools and community partnerships that make computer science engaging and accessible for all students.” –Google
As a result of our affiliation with Google, EmpowHer girls have had to opportunity to participate in several Google sponsored events. EmpowHer Leaders Academy students attended the Paley Impact Cracking the Code: Diversity, Hollywood & Stem Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Edition event. They developed and pitched an idea for an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode. EmpowHer girls attended the screening and panel discussion for Google’s web series God ComplX, which tells story of a young African-American women programmer in the tech industry. EmpowHer girls also attended the Program the Beat: Breaking Barriers with Dance and Technology event, where students learned about the intersection of dance and technology.
In 2015 EmpowHer Institute, in partnership with WhizGirls Academy, launched a 12 week after-school STEM Program for 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls. WhizGirls Academy participants learned computer coding, web page design and development. They created their own web pages and used HTML and CSS to write code that created words, color and images for their web page. In their evaluations of the program, 100% of the girls expressed enthusiasm and excitement about learning to code. One participant exclaimed, “Now that I know how to code, I feel like the queen of the world.”