October 11 is a special day for Tech-Girls. We launched on the first International Day of the Girl on October 11, 2012. The United Nations set aside this day “to help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls’ lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential.” It’s a day when activist groups come together under the same goal to highlight, discuss, and take action to advance rights and opportunities for girls everywhere.
There are a litany of issues facing girls worldwide including illiteracy, school dropout, forced marriage, violence and media misrepresentation. These are not new problems, but are issues rooted in systems of inequality that have been around for a long time. There are overwhelming stats that can never fully convey the heart-breaking realities they reveal, but there are alternate realities we can embrace. Eve Ensler has a vision of that alternate reality - “if teenage girls wake up, if teenage girls take it back, this whole world will change overnight because they have more energy, more brilliance, more gut-filled, open-hearted wisdom”.
In 2012, the International Day of the Girl planted a flag, to take stock of where we were and where we wanted to be on the issue of gender equality. This year the call for action is for increased investment in collecting and analyzing girl-focused, girl-relevant and sex-disaggregated data. This technology-focused, big data goal requires the very things that our Tech-Girls mission embraces - empowering girls to imagine and achieve new futures for themselves by providing them with solid foundational knowledge of computer science concepts and inspiring them to share their vision with the globally connected community.
Spotlight: Patsy Mangas
Each month we spotlight a woman or girl in tech who inspires us. This month we are highlighting Patsy Mangas, a woman who is inspiring the next generation of women in STEM. She is the founder of She Rocks The World and The Virginia Girls’ Summit. The summit started out as a conference for teenage girls and their parents, mentors and teachers with 34 teenage ambassadors creating, running and publicizing the event. The ambassadors liked it so much they wanted more than just a one day event so She Rocks The World (SRTW) was born.
What drives your interest in technology? Technology is about innovation and collaboration…girls working together to solve problems. I’m driven to encourage girls to put themselves and their ideas out there. I get really pumped when I see girls arguing their point, raising their hand to share their opinion, walking into a coding class full of boys and supporting each other. We like to say when a girl stands up and speaks up is where leadership starts. When fearless girls create technology the world is going to change.
October 12 - Make It @ the Library at 4:00pm. Kickstart your creativity in this Pop-up MakerSpace. Each month will feature several projects focused on a theme. Open to ages 10-15 at the Central Library.
October 15 & November 12 - Kids’ Tech University. This collaborative effort between Virginia State and Virginia Tech is designed to serve children ages 9-12 years old and their parents who will come to VSU on both dates to observe lectures by world-renowned research scientists and participate in interactive hands-on activities. Registration required.
October 22 (deadline) - SWE @ UVA High School Visitation November 19. This is a comprehensive, hands-on program to give young women an in-depth look at the field of engineering. High school students from the state of Virginia are welcome to apply. Registration required.
November 7 - Chess Fun Day at James Monroe Highland. The aim of this event is to promote the game of chess and the opportunity to expand chess for all area K-12 students. It is free to participate, except for the Blitz Tournament.
November 12 - Girls' Geek Day at Hollymead Elementary. GGD is all about sparking elementary school girls interest in technology and computing by providing a fun, collaborative, hands-on environment to learn new tech skills and helping them connect to other STEM programs in the community. Registration required & coming soon.
November 12 - Virginia Girls' Summit is a yearly event created by teenage ambassadors for other teenage girls. For over 4 years they have been bringing together thousands of girls in 7th-12th grade and their parents from around the Mid-Atlantic to live a “She Rocks The World” day of exciting workshops, guest speakers and fun activities. Registration required.
December 16 (deadline) - The second annual SPARK! Hackathon is coming January 28 & 29, 2017! This two-day event of learning and hacking is open to high school students throughout the region and offers them a unique opportunity to get connected to industry experts and other students who are passionate about changing the world through technology. Apply now!
December 31 (deadline) - CBIC Tech Tour Scholarship Application. All Juniors and Seniors who participate in tour are eligible to apply for the scholarship. Every year CBIC awards two $2500 scholarships. Apply now.
Virtual & Global
August-November - FIRST LEGO Leagueteams of up to 10 members, grades 4-8 are forming now to research a real-world problem and design, build and program a robot using LEGO Mindstorms. Most tournaments happen in November. VA-DC Starting Points has great resources for teams to get started.
October 30 (deadline) - Virginia Space Coast Scholars (VSCS) program is a dynamic, informal online learning experience for high school sophomores. With a focus on scientific exploration, students will be introduced to the science, engineering, and technology concepts that are integral to earth and space-based missions launched or conducted from Virginia's Space Coast on the Eastern Shore.
October 30 (deadline) - The Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS) program is an interactive on-line science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning experience for Virginia high school juniors and seniors, highlighted by a seven-day residential summer academy at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
October 30 (deadline) - Virginia Aerospace Science and Technology Scholars (VASTS) program is an interactive on-line science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning experience for high school juniors, highlighted by a seven-day residential summer academy at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in Hampton, Va.
November 7 (deadline) - 2017 NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computingapplications open for high school women in grades 9 thru 12. Aspirations Award recipients are chosen for their outstanding aptitude and interest in computing, proven leadership ability, academic performance, and plans for post‑secondary education.
December 31 (team recruitment deadline) Technovation. Every year, Technovation invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. Technovation takes students through 4 stages of launching a mobile app startup, inspired by the principles of design thinking.
February 6 (deadline) - ExploraVision competition for K-12 students engages the next generation in real world problem solving with a strong emphasis on STEM.
February 15 (deadline) - ProjectCSGirls is a competition designed to challenge middle school girls to actively use computer science and technology to develop a solution to an imminent social problem.
Are you ready to become a mentor or sponsor a Tech-Girl event? Can you help us get the word out? However you would like to get involved, we need you!