teentech™ Program in a Box
Inspire Girls in Science and Math with teentech™
Teentech™, launched by AAUW of New Jersey, is a daylong event that inspires middle and high school girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). AAUW’s research shows that young women lag behind young men in acquiring technical proficiencies. Since girls are more likely to use technology when they see its real-world applications, teentech™ offers a one-day conference that is designed to make STEM exciting and relevant to interest girls in high-demand careers in a global economy where women are still greatly underrepresented. High school girls from around your state will have the opportunity to learn problem-solving skills by engaging in hands-on workshop sessions with faculty and students in technology and engineering disciplines.
10 Steps to Get This STEM Program Started
Put together a team of interested AAUW members and coalition partners to help decide details and share the workload. The teentech™ chair will be the key motivator and strategist for the event. The planning team will include those responsible for programming, coalition outreach, community and media promotion, registration, morning refreshments, and lunch. Be very clear about what needs to be done and who is handling what.
2. Recruit coalition partners.
Collaborate with an AAUW college/university partner member in your region to host the event on its campus and co-sponsor the event with you. Invite diverse groups in your community to co-sponsor the event as well. Be sure to include organizations that have the same goals and values and fully agree on the mission, outcomes, and plan.
3. Decide on a format and workshop agenda.
Be sure that your format will achieve your goals and accommodate the number of people you would like to attend. Keep in mind what type of funding you can realistically expect, how many qualified volunteers you can recruit, and what your location can accommodate.
4. E-mail save-the-date postcards immediately.
Design and send a save the date as soon as co-sponsors and your college or university location have been secured. The e-mail announcement only needs to include the title of the teentech™ conference and the date, time, location, and co-sponsors. Please note that schools need as much lead time as possible for their board approval of budgets, for scheduling buses, and for granting permission for the teentech™ student field trip.
5. Decide on a target audience.
Teentech™ participants usually include girls in grades 9–11 along with their accompanying chaperones (the AAUW of New Jersey program requires all participants register with a chaperone, usually a teacher with a group of students). The program can also be targeted to middle school girls. Estimate how many people will attend the event, and set a limit on the number of participants based on the college or university’s available conference facility and room space. Everything about the event, including the issues, co-sponsoring organizations, speakers, location, date, and time, should be designed with the audience in mind. The expected number of attendees (students and chaperones) also determines the budget, staffing, location, handouts, equipment, supplies, and the like.
6. Develop a budget.
While events can be held for little expense, you may incur costs for printed handouts, refreshments or meals, advertising, and postage for visibility and follow-up letters. In-kind contributions and donations from co-sponsors and other organizations are good ways to stretch your resources. A $20.00 registration fee is generally charged for each participant (students and their chaperones) to cover the cost of meals, handouts, and other expenses. Set a budget line to provide a stipend for workshop presenter materials if requested. (Generally, $50 per workshop is a very reasonable request.)
7. Establish a time line.
Create a time line that leads up to the event and shows each task that must be accomplished, the deadline for accomplishing it, and the person responsible.
8. Select a date.
Select a date and time that are mutually convenient for your target audience and for your co-sponsoring college or university. Avoid religious or government holidays or dates when participating schools have mandatory state testing scheduled. Generally, the best time to host a teentech™ conference is in late May. This is the time of year when the weather is good and when school testing has been completed.
9. Choose a location.
Choose an accessible AAUW college/university partner member campus that will attract your target audience. Be sure the location is wheelchair-accessible. A college or university campus is an ideal location because your participants will be inspired to pursue higher education by seeing a campus and interacting with college students in the teentech™ workshops.
10. Brainstorm about ways to save money.
Ask presenters and guest speakers if they will donate their time. Create relationships with local copy shops and discuss the possibility of getting discounted or free printing in return for advertising the shop’s name on the back of your brochures or flyers. Ask a college or university to co-sponsor the event by donating the space. (You may be responsible for janitorial service or a security deposit.)
Planning Your teentech™ Event
1. Appoint a teentech™ committee chair (or co-chairs) and a committee team.
The chair (or co-chairs) will identify a team of specialists to be responsible for programming, coalition outreach, community and media promotion, facility and meal coordination, and registration. Prepare checklists of committee team responsibilities to make sure everyone understands her or his duties and to avoid task overlap.
2. Schedule meetings with your committee.
The initial meeting date is generally in August or September. A second meeting should be scheduled for early December, followed by one in early April. Two to three weeks before the conference, a final meeting should be held to work on preparing student and chaperone packets and to review the event, including finalizing the number of attendees.
3. Select and invite speakers, panelists, moderators, and other participants.
Whenever possible, choose nonpartisan, credible individuals who will bring media attention to the event. Speakers need to represent a variety of ages, ethnic backgrounds, and physical abilities. Invite them well in advance of the event, and be specific about what you want them to do. Be sure to confirm and reconfirm with them before the event.
4. Work with your committee members to identify faculty from the host college or university who will present interactive, hands-on STEM activities.
Plan separate morning and afternoon workshops. Request workshop titles with brief descriptions to include in a teentech™ brochure. Ask the faculty to engage undergraduate and graduate students to assist in the workshops.
5. Identify co-sponsors and contributors, and ask for their help.
Contact local groups through e-mail or flyers or attend their meetings. Invite them to co-sponsor the event, help plan it, and send (and possibly sponsor) participants from their area schools. Local businesses might be willing to contribute goods or services to the event. Be sure to confirm and reconfirm with co-sponsors and contributors before the event.
If you have co-sponsors or contributors, make sure you set up top billing and approval of all materials in writing in advance of their publication to assure accuracy and proper branding. Clearly specify in advance all requirements and limitations.
6. Spread the word.
Decide how you will inform different audiences about the event. Generally, a save-the date e-message is sent out early in the school year, followed by a detailed brochure, which includes registration and workshop information. The brochure should be e-mailed to STEM educators at schools statewide. If possible, ask school administrators to send out notices to parents and students. Encourage schools to also send their guidance counselors to teentech™. Establish a contact person at each school, and keep in touch with her or him.
Consider newspaper ads, flyers, radio and television announcements, Twitter, Facebook, online advertising, or community bulletin boards. Designate one person to be the public contact, and include her or his phone number and e-mail address on all publicity materials.
7. Market your event.
Compile a list of media contacts that includes local and regional newspaper and magazine editors for publications and departments that cover women’s and education issues. Also include college and university and high school newspapers. Designate a committee member to be available to the media and include her or his name, phone number, and e-mail address on all outreach and mailings. Work coordinately with the college or university media personnel to collaborate on media outreach from their contact lists. Create press releases, and e-mail or fax them to local newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations. About five days before the event, e-mail or fax an advisory to all of your media contacts and follow up with them one to two days before your event.
8. Organize the registration process.
The sample teentech™ brochure includes a form with detailed registration information that you can use as a model. The form includes all the contact information and specific steps for registering each participant (if you have online registration set up, include a link in the brochure). If you are charging a fee ($20.00 per participant is suggested), decide what payment methods you will accept (generally schools will pay via check or purchase order). Confirm registration with the chaperone from each school as soon as you have received the completed registration forms and the fee. Include a list of their student participants as well as the chaperones who are attending.
Approximately one week before the event, e-mail the chaperones directions to the campus, including details about the drop-off location, breakfast, and the morning session. Include a map pointing out parking locations for the buses and for individual vehicles.
9. Compile your handouts.
At least one month before the conference, decide what handouts you will distribute at the event (including AAUW brochures) and be sure that you have more than enough copies. If you run out of handouts, have a method in place for people to request copies by mail or e-mail. Be sure you have a procedure in place for distributing handouts at the event. Generally, two-pocket folders are provided for each participant with the designated handouts pre-stuffed in each packet.
Make sure you have links available for those with smartphones and laptops to get downloadable material.
10. Prepare media kits.
Media kits should include the agenda, speaker bios and statements, press releases, background on AAUW and co-sponsors, and any other materials about the event. Be sure that you have more than enough copies for each media representative at the event (have at least 10 kits available if you don’t know how many reporters might be coming). Also provide a link to downloadable material online.
11. Assign participants to their workshops; create name tags and certificates.
Maintain a spreadsheet listing the workshop preferences of all participants and compare those with the number of maximum attendees for each workshop. Participants will choose two workshops on their registration forms. Every consideration should be given to their choices; however, some randomization will be required when workshops reach their maximum. Use discretion to fairly balance the numbers in each workshop.
Prepare name tags along with summary lists of students and faculty attending from each school. The name tags should include first name, last name, and school and will also designate pre-selected choices for one morning and one afternoon workshop slot (use number or letter designations to identify each workshop). The name tags should be bundled in envelopes with the designated school names to facilitate a smooth process on the conference day. Each chaperone will receive their school’s envelope with theirs and their students’ name tags and packets. The chaperone will check and verify their students’ name tags and distribute the packets to their students.
Certificates acknowledging each participant’s attendance will be prepared for the girls and chaperones. Generally, they are given out at the end of the conference after receiving the evaluation form from each participant. These are completed during the last few minutes of each afternoon workshop.
Your committee members should work coordinately with campus personnel to include professional development hours for the chaperones attending teentech™.
What to Do the Day of Your Event
Have a committee member check the conference meeting room to be sure everything is set up correctly. She or he should also coordinate with the presenting faculty to make sure that all workshops, meals, rooms, and equipment are in order. Make sure there are signs posted for parking and for getting to the event building.
2. Assign someone to meet, brief, and escort each speaker.
Designate several members of your committee to be the official greeters for guest speakers. Have water available for the speakers during the event, and make sure participants have access to water.
3. Have a sign-in sheet ready.
The sign-in sheet should list the students, chaperones, guest speakers, faculty presenters, and college student assistants and should have columns for any contact information you’d like to collect (such as e-mail addresses or phone numbers). Consider making the sign-in sheet electronic (on a laptop) so you don’t have to manually enter information onto a computer later.
4. Be sure someone is available at all times to answer logistical questions and welcome latecomers.
A committee member should be tasked with being the logistics liaison, including making announcements, answering questions, and directing people to the restrooms or elevators.
5. Acknowledge speakers, sponsors, and contributors.
In the welcome and wrap-up messages, acknowledge and thank everyone who has made the event possible.
6. Prepare a few questions in case groups are slow to warm up after a presentation.
This gives members of the audience time to think of their own questions.
What to Do after Your Event
1. Thank speakers, sponsors, coalition partners, and others who contributed.
Thank all event sponsors and contributors in writing immediately following the event, and consider sending small thank-you gifts. Include a certificate of appreciation with their thank-you letters. Send thank-you letters to the chaperones and their schools’ administrators.
2. Follow up with the media.
Call all media contacts to see if they have any questions or need additional information or quotes. If they do, be sure to reply and send materials immediately by e-mail. Send an electronic media kit and follow-up press release to those who did not attend. Contact schools to have their media liaisons contact outlets in their area. Make sure they are provided with copies (via e-mail or fax) of the press releases.
3. Follow up on actions that came out of your event.
Work with your committee and coalition to debrief and follow up on any actions that you discussed at or after your event. Your follow-up should occur as soon as conveniently possible after the conference.
4. Follow up with potential AAUW members.
Use the registration list as a mailing list for future conferences and to contact potential AAUW members. Follow-up should occur as soon as possible after the event. Send the mailing list to firstname.lastname@example.org so that these audiences can be reached in national recruitment efforts.
5. Follow up with students and chaperones who tried to register after the maximum number was reached.
Send out letters to the students and chaperones to thank them for their interest in teentech™ and let them know that you had reached the maximum number of registrations earlier than anticipated. Encourage the chaperones to register for future teentech™ conferences.
Target these folks specifically for registration the following year, and consider expanding your event to accommodate more participants.
Time Line for Your teentech™ Event
Here’s a sample of the time line that AAUW of New Jersey suggests. Be sure your time line includes each task that must be accomplished, the deadline for accomplishing it, and the person who is responsible.
Eight months before event
- Appoint planning team
- Identify and contact coalition partners
- Identify college or university partners and conference location
Seven months before event
- Decide on the event format
- Decide on an audience
- Develop a budget
- Finalize date and location
- E-mail a save the date
- Appoint teentech™ committee
- Invite speakers, moderators, and panelists
- Identify co-sponsors and contributors and request their help
- Decide on light breakfast and lunch menu
Six months before event
- Finalize brochure and e-mail it to your audience
- Finalize speakers, moderators, and panelists
Four months before event
- Compile list of media contacts
Two months before event
- Reconfirm speakers
- Create press releases
- Gather handouts and stuff in folders
- Prepare media packets
Two weeks before event
- Finalize registration of schools
- Gather handouts
- Check audio or video presentations
Five days before event
- E-mail your media advisory
- Finalize media kits
- Call coalition partners to assess attendance
- Prepare name tags
Two days before event
- Make media reminder calls
One day before event
- E-mail news release to media
- Make sure rooms are set up correctly
- Set up the refreshment table
- Set up the registration table
Day of event
- Make sure the room is set up correctly
- Check audiovisual equipment
- Attend to speakers
- Answer media questions
- Thank participants, sponsors, and contributors in writing
- Follow up with media — locally and regionally
- Follow up with potential AAUW members (send your list to email@example.com so they can be included in wider recruitment efforts)
- Follow up on future strategies that came out of the event
Programs in a Box (PIAB) help members consider and choose program activities for their branches with the “what, why, and how” to implement that program.
Sample templates, forms, and other planning resources for your branch programs and events.
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