Cleveland, Ohio -- When they are in middle school, 74 percent of young women express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), yet when it comes time to select a college major, only 0.3 percent of high school girls choose computer science and only 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women. HER Ideas in Motion, a Cleveland-based 501c(3) non-profit organization focused on helping girls persist in technology and media arts, is working to change those statistics by preparing women for more than 1.4 million good-paying STEM-related job openings that are expected in the U.S. by 2020.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology attributes the deficit of young women pursuing technology careers to curriculum that has relied too much on lecturing instead of hands-on based projects, a lack of knowledge among girls about computing careers, teaching styles that have historically discouraged collaboration, lower confidence among young women even when their levels of achievement are similar to boys, and few opportunities to take risks and make mistakes (NCWIT, 2012).
Tackling those issues head-on, HER Ideas in Motion provides young women with innovative, project-based computer science and computer science in media programs to give students real-world insights into working in a technical field. Trained technical leaders and educators teach young women hands-on skills in a community of practice allowing students to first witness and then participate in the making of technology, exposing them to industry best practices.
This community of practice brings 21st century technology based skills and role models to students who otherwise wouldn’t learn these applied technologies the beyond the classroom.
“The majority of CS programs teach individuals some coding,” said Rachel Wilkins Patel, Founder of HER Ideas in Motion. “What sets us apart from the rest is our passion to explore the various opportunities these fields present, including CS in Media through our community of technologist who train for our programs.”
Tech Role Model Network
Led by technology professionals throughout the year, the programs include inclusion measures present in programs to accommodate women with children and novice learners who need support as a new learner. The culture that we practice in current technology programs is active in some workplaces and some open source technology projects, but you can only really experience it by being deeply integrated in those communities as current students or current employees, and not for those on the outside.
Upcoming tech mentor training:
Mentor Training - September 18, 2015 - technologists and creative professional mentorship training. Register here.
HER Ideas in Motion Programming
Following a HER Ideas program, 82 percent of attendees have said they would like to pursue more classes in technology with 77 percent of girls saying they’d like to go into technology as a career.
Upcoming programs include:
HER Ideas in Health during which girls learn health IT process from theory to project completion to create their own web-based game.
HER Ideas in Big Data during which Girls dive into coding around to build their own projects.
In-School Tech Clubs
Tech Clubs are in-school programs where girls learn technical and creative skills over a series of weeks. Girls gain real-world insights into what it's like to work in these fields, while making their own technology. Current participating schools include Fairport Harbor School and Warner Leadership Academy.
According to Domenic Paolo, PhD, Superintendent of Fairport Harbor Schools, “As a school superintendent, I am entrusted with the education of every student who enrolls in Fairport Harbor Schools. This responsibility extends beyond graduation and into their adult lives and livelihoods. With technology skills intersecting so many of the successful careers today and into the foreseeable future, I cannot stand idly by while gender inequities negatively impact so many of my students. For that reason, I am thrilled to bring “HER Ideas in Motion” to our school district.”
Wilkins Patel concurs, “It’s critical that we ignite girls’ interest in this field, so they are equipped to have a voice in the innovations that will shape our future and remain visible as technologists, speakers, contributors, authors, innovators and investors in local economies.”
Parents, teachers, school administrators, tech volunteers and potential community partners can learn more about opportunities with HER Ideas in Motion by calling (330) 552-8308 or visiting herideasinmotion.com.
For more information, to schedule an interview or feature a workshop or in-school tech club, please contact:
Rachel Wilkins Patel | HER Ideas In Motion
Ph: (330) 552-8308
About HER Ideas in Motion
HER Ideas in Motion is a Cleveland-based 501c3 nonprofit corporation focused on providing opportunities for girls to achieve in technology and media arts. Through hands-on workshops and tech clubs, girls learn technical and creative skills from professionals, while building their own projects. In addition, HER Ideas in Motion has developed a women-led approach that combines female technical and creative professionals teaching and mentoring girls to provide access to female role models in these fields. Through education and empowerment, HER Ideas in Motion aims to close the gender gap of the less than ¼ percent ratio of women to men working in these fields.