Triumph for Tech Savvy Buffalo
The inaugural Breaking through Barriers Awards at the 2011 AAUW National Convention honored states and branches from across the nation for programs that demonstrate innovation and creativity in addressing the educational and economic barriers that women and girls face. Over the coming weeks, AAUW will profile the four winning projects.
In 2006 the AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch started Tech Savvy, an initiative that aims to “encourage girls to explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers through a fun, illuminating day of activities,” as the Buffalo branch’s website describes the program. Attendees at the latest Tech Savvy conference in March 2011 had the opportunity to attend workshops on paleontology, the chemical engineering behind gum drops, renewable energy, and even robotics, to name just a few.
Some of the program’s success comes from its ongoing use of pre- and post-conference evaluations, which led the branch to develop a year-round newsletter to continue communication with attendees and their parents.
“We started Tech Savvy approximately six years ago and did so with two things in mind: to increase the pipeline of girls who might be able to realize the goal of higher education and to offer girls — and the adults in their lives — a better sense of the self-sufficiency and self-fulfillment that might be achieved from wonderful STEM careers,” said Tamara Brown, a past president of the Buffalo branch and founder of Tech Savvy. “Knowing that we are among other great programs from our AAUW sister branches — and the body of work that AAUW’s national efforts represent — is an honor, one that we will take forward as we continue to break more barriers.”