Girls in Technology and the Sharing our Success Program

Did you know? – We’ve come a long way but we still have a ways to go.

Why? Because young women are still a minority in computer science and engineering programs in our universities.

Will that change? With technology filtering through every aspect of our personal and professional lives it has become a necessity and thanks to organizations like Women in Technology it will happen.

From my Personal Experience:

When I was hired for my very first technology job at the Instructional Development Office of George Mason University as a graduate student in 1993, I was the only women technologist on staff to support faculty.  Since then,  I have taught computer graphics at the university level and have been saddened to see very talented and creative young female students not go into computer related fields even though they were gifted and seemed to enjoy working with computers.

Why things are looking up!

The Sharing our Success Program and the Girls In Technology Committee of WIT.

I had the privilege on Aprill 22nd to be one of the demonstrators at the WIT 8th annual “Sharing our Success” that was held at the Microsoft Office in Reston VA. The mission of GIT is to support community and academic programs that engage school-age girls in technology and computer-related learning. Over a 100  young girls from local middle school and high schools attended and interacted with the women who were demonstrating their work.

The theme of the night was “Your Passion – Your Choose!

Many of the women participating including myself had been able to combine their passions with a their interest in technology.

I demonstrated ToxMystery which myself and my company Distinct Studios Inc. have designed and developed with the Specialized Information Services of the  National Library of Medicine since 2002. ToxMystery is an interactive activity that teaches young students age 6 to 11 ( and really older) about possible dangers in the home.

We combined animation, audio – both voice and sound events, graphics,  character design, and yes. – programming. Our result a fun and engaging experience where you get a chance to learn as well!  Toxie the Cat is the main character of ToxMystery who engages the user right off the bat by asking them to enter the house and look for the possible hazards. The users clicks on various spots and then is asked to answer questions. When all of the questions in all of the rooms have answered you then receive and can print out an award certificate.

Sounds a little dry? The young ladies at the  Sharing our Sucess program didn’t seem to think so. They were engaged and made the evening exceed my expectations. Their questions impressed me.  – I don’t think I would have asked such dynamic questions at their age. They asked about the coding language, how to design games, and even the best way to create a drawing on the computer.  The questions did included the best courses to take at the university level to prepare for career but what I thought was more important was that they came away with sense that there is not one way to enter into the computer technology and computer graphics fields.