TechGirlz Sets STEM Outreach Goal: 20K by 2020
- By Dian Schaffhauser
Podcasting. Designing mobile apps. Using digital mapping. Creating animation with Python. Encrypting messages. Arduino programming. These are a few of the free workshop plans made available as "TechShopz in a Box" by TechGirlz. The non-profit has just committed to reaching 20,000 new female students with technology in middle school as part of a new, ambitious "20K by 2020" goal.
The organization was launched in 2010 by Tracey Welson-Rossman, the marketing and sales head at Chariot Solutions, which provides enterprise software development. She founded the non-profit, she explained in a video, to "help girls understand and embrace the power of technology for their future careers." The group develops and distributes free interactive curriculum to be used by volunteers from colleges, high schools, companies and community groups to introduce tech concepts to girls through in-person workshops and camps.
Recently, TechGirlz announced that it had reached 10,000 girls with its lessons. To celebrate, the organization hosted live technology workshops in 10 locations around the country. Those groups also connected through Facebook Live to bring the girls and instructors together virtually.
Now it plans to triple its outreach and draw in an additional 20,000 girls by 2020. It has also kicked off a $1 million capital campaign. Those funds will be used to expand the TechGirlz library of courses, promote its programs in new locations and recruit bring more volunteer instructors. An early commitment to the campaign comes from tech association CompTIA and its charity arm, Creating IT Futures.
"Every girl that has a chance to learn about gaming, design, robotics, coding and more through a program like TechGirlz is building the foundation now to become a key contributor to America's workforce tomorrow," said Welson-Rossman, in a prepared statement.
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.