U.S. State Department Tackles Gender Gap in STEM Participation

[For years I’ve tried to find strategies to increase the number of young women participating in STEAM related projects where I’ve had any involvement. I also tried to have young women on my student tech team when I was the Coordinator of Educational Technology for the Fox Chapel Area School District. Today there are more and more opportunities, but the number of women in STEM fields is still much lower than what we need. I’m now working with the Energy Innovation Center Institute in Pittsburgh to design a summer camp for young women focused on fashion and robotics developed around the Hummingbird Robotics kit from Birdbrain Technologies. In this Education Week article you’ll discover a series of successful ventures that bring young woman from around the Globe together.]

Girls creating robot

Photo by Norton Gusky CC BY 4.0

Initiatives target Middle East, North Africa

August 30, 2016

They have traveled from Tunisia and Algeria, from Lebanon and Palestine.

One teenage girl wants to be an engineer, another to work in astrophysics. They are “TechGirls,” participants in a summer program that brought them to the nation’s capital this summer to nurture their passion for leadership and sharpen their technology skills.

The U.S. Department of State-sponsored program is one of a growing number of efforts that are providing real-world, in-depth experiences to get girls more engaged in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. Men still largely outnumber women in STEM fields, and the State Department aims to pick away at that gap.

TechGirls is run by Legacy International, a nonprofit group with a long history of supporting local community-building around the world. The itinerary for the program brings girls from the Middle East and North Africa on visits to tech companies, and has them take part in a coding camp and in community-service activities, all designed to cultivate their interest in math- and science-related studies and professions.

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