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ChickTech Philadelphia is bringing free tech education to local girls

ChickTech volunteers speaking to teens. January 18, 2018 Category: EventFeaturedMediumPurpose

Disclosures

This is a guest post by ChickTech Philly chapter lead Sarah Herrmann. It originally appeared on LinkedIn.
Most people who know ChickTech Philadelphia, the local chapter of a national nonprofit, know us as a networking group for professional women in tech.

What many people don’t know is that for the past few months we have been hard at work preparing for the launch of our first ChickTech: High School program cohort, a program that is run in over 18 chapters across the country.

The goal of this program is to provide a positive and fun learning environment for girls, helping them to see a career in technology as a real possibility and showing them that a “career in tech” can mean many things and open many doors.

Thanks to our generous sponsors, Linode and Drexel’s Goodwin College of Professional Studies, this past weekend we were able to host 23 local girls over two days and teach them about game app development. The girls, who were nominated by teachers and mentors, came from all over the Greater Philadelphia region, many of them having zero previous exposure to STEM programs.

Our volunteers shared their stories and experiences and offered insight into the different career opportunities that are available. Gabriela Marcu, a researcher and professor in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel, delivered a keynote focused on showing our students how technology can make a meaningful impact in people’s lives.

The weekend wrapped with family members, friends and teachers coming to view the app the girls had developed and see the space they had been working in all weekend.

This is a completely free program for the girls. We cover the cost of food, transportation and childcare so that there are absolutely no barriers. This weekend was the just the first of many workshops.

Each month, the girls will be invited to sign up for additional classes, which will take place one Saturday a month. Our plan is to offer them variety of topics for the remainder of the cohort, including including robotics, UX design, Javascript and soft circuits.

In the end, we hope that the girls gain more than a new technical skill. We hope they gain new friends, connect with a mentor and gain confidence that they can do and be anything they want!

From our Partners

ChickTech chapter are 100 percent volunteer-run, and Philadelphia’s  goal is to have 100 girls in each cohort. We are currently looking for nonprofit partners who have ties to educators or youth to help increase the number of girls involved in the program and the resources we can offer, as well as sponsors and people to volunteer.

If you are interested in getting involved in future workshops, please contact us at Philadelphia@ChickTech.org.

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