If high school is where STEM interest among female students drops off, then early exposure to college — coupled with STEM skill-building — could help level the scales for the generations ahead.
In February, the two organizations took their first step together by way of a TechGirlz TechShop (the org’s name for a workshop using their open-sourced materials) which focused on text mining and data analysis at LeBow College’s Business Analytics Solutions Center.
“As leaders in preparing both women and men for rewarding tech careers, we at Drexel are thrilled to partner with TechGirlz in empowering and preparing young girls to be good students and eventually play a critical role in meeting society’s technology needs,” Drexel University President John Fry said in a statement.
The lack of hard and fast structure to the partnership is on purpose, said TechGirlz founder Tracey Welson-Rossman, also the the Chief Marketing Officer at Chariot Solutions.
“We’ll be working together to create some of that structure together going forward,” she said. The program will consist jointly-run workshops and studies. The two organizations will pursue grant funding for projects.
For Welson-Rossman, exposure to Drexel’s campus and the academic environment there is a big deal for school-age girls.
“The whole point is to show girls what it’s like to be on campus,” she said.
Last March, TechGirlz reached the milestone of educating 10,000 girls through its workshops. A $1 million campaign to double that amount of girls by 2020 was launched, with early commitments to the campaign from CompTIA and Creating IT Futures. The funds will help the organizations expand its library of courses, set up shop in new locations and bring more volunteer instructors into the fold.