Learning from the Future: A Report from an AAUW Tech Savvy Conference
Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a post that originally appeared on YWTF Chicago’s website. Visit their page to read the rest!
In November 2014, the Chicago chapter of the Younger Women’s Task Force, a sub-organization of AAUW, attended Tech Savvy in Wheaton, Illinois. Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls in sixth–ninth grades to these fields and to inform families about STEM education and careers.
The day began with hands-on workshops in various math, science, and engineering fields. YWTF Chapter Director Sequoya Hayes most enjoyed the “Wild Weather” workshop, where Amy Seely of the National Weather Service taught the girls the differences between cloud types, how to track weather patterns and learn what a day in the life of a meteorologist is really like. “I was surprised to learn that those interested in meteorology are encouraged to study graphic design, so not only can they predict the weather but so that they can communicate it to their audience,” Sequoya said. “It was eye-opening for me and for the girls to learn just how much more there is to meteorology outside of the daily forecast.”
Felicia Slayton-Young, our Membership & Outreach Director, attended the “Candy Land” workshop where Monica Kane and Julia Saari, mechanical engineers at Praxair, taught the girls about polymers and how to build their own. During this workshop, the girls used different colored gumdrops to represent different elements and connected them with toothpicks to build a molecule.
Our Director of Operations Tiffany Portis was lucky enough to be able to attend one of the day’s most popular sessions, “Ice Cream, Anyone?” where Praxair mechanical engineer Meghan Alroth taught the eager (and sweet-toothed!) girls about cryogenic gases and the role temperature plays in creating everyone’s favorite dessert. Tiffany said, “The session was active with participation and created an atmosphere of learning and joy for both the presenters and attendees. The teams of girls were lively and encouraging, with each group more excited than the last!”
… There is no doubt about it, YWTF Chicago will be back at AAUW’s TechSavvy events in 2015. And hey, we might even host our own! After seeing these young women striving to achieve their dreams, we’re inspired to achieve our own.
AAUW’s research report Solving the Equation features the latest data on girls’ achievement in subjects related to engineering and computing.
Learn more about Tech Savvy, AAUW’s daylong STEM career conference for girls in sixth through ninth grade and their parents.
“The work for these STEM programs is challenging, but exposing these girls to scientific curricula and making it fun for them is something very much worth doing.”