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Growing a Fresh Crop of Girl Geeks!

Posted By Kris Shock, EXIT10, Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Welcoming the Rails Crowd

It seems impossible that today is October 1st!

Before two full weeks fly by I must take a moment to pause and thank the mighty team of members, volunteers and staff responsible for the great success of the CRTC’s first Cupcakes and Computers and Rails Girls events – welcoming 80+ girls on Friday and Saturday, September 20 and 21st in Columbia! These events could not have happened without the unflagging support of CRTC Board Member Angie Lienert, CEO of Columbia based IntelliGenesis and Susan Schneider, President of /training/etc.

The mission of the CRTC Women in Tech Forum, led by Angie Lienert is to positively influence, through networking, speaking engagements, training, volunteer work and mentoring, women and girls who work or aspire to work in the technology field.

From this mission came two awesome inaugural events over the weekend of September 20th – Cupcakes and Computers for girls from K-12 and Rails Girls Columbia for middle school and high school girls.

Cupcakes and Computers offered brief age-specific presentations and peer bonding over stickers and cupcakes! More than 45 Girls from K-12 got to share their curiosity and love for computers with each other and hear from professional geeks on fun techie topics.

Elementary attendees were treated to a presentation on the physics of sound by volunteer presenter Tracy Haupt and got to play with the sound waves of their own voices on an iPad.

Shervonne Cherry of Mindgrub presented on the "Escape from Detention” game they created with Howard County middle school-ers to our middle school crowd and showcased the girl-geeks at Mindgrub. The presentation included the many courses of study kids might follow in pursuit of a career in mobile app development (hint: not just math!).

Our High School cupcakes enjoyed a lively presentation on Cyber Forensics by Dina Haines and Laura Dozier of the CyberCenter at AACC.

In the midst of these fantastic presentations and all of this bonding many girls were arriving with laptops in hand for Rails Girls installation. We first learned of Rails Girls back in March when we got wind of Rails Girls Baltimore’s great success. We reached out to Mike Subelsky and Kate Bladow and enlisted their support in our first Rails Girls Columbia at /training/etc.

We put out a call for coaches and students and were thrilled with the response as we hit student capacity. Kate Bladow, Dina Haines and Debbie Davis did an amazing job preparing the program and workshop materials and enlisted the help of additional coaches Brian Sierkowski, Alana Frome, Patrick Jenkins (Social Growth Technologies), Max Masnick, Marcelle Lee, Will Carroll and peer coach Katie Spiegel, age 11. Katie also treated the girls to a presentation on Scratch while Alana discussed opportunities for women in tech careers and the college courses needed to enter these fields.

In all we were incredibly proud to welcome 46 Rails Girls for the first-ever CRTC WIT Community Event. We’re all buzzing about "next time” and hope to offer Spring and Fall CRTC Rails Girls events moving forward.

Many thanks to everyone who made the events such a great success – all noted here plus the /training/etc and IntelliGenesis teams who went over and above the call of duty to inspire a new generation of tech talent!

For information on future Women in Tech events, contact us today!

Tags:  STEM  tech talent  women in tech  workforce 

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