The Ohio University branch of AAUW has been awarded a grant to establish a Tech Savvy program for girls in sixth through ninth grades on May 17.
“This is a great opportunity for the Athens AAUW to partner with Ohio University and offer an exciting science program for middle school girls in the area,” says Dr. Sarah Wyatt, committee chair for the Tech Savvy program at OHIO. Wyatt is Professor of Environmental & Plant Biology and also serves as the new College of Arts & Sciences Coordinator of Undergraduate Research.
Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls in sixth through ninth grade to these fields and to inform families about STEM education and careers.
Although the program focuses on exciting girls about STEM, Tech Savvy also includes an important program for parents. This component encourages families to reinforce the girls’ interest in STEM.
The Tech Savvy program was founded by the AAUW Buffalo chapter and expanded to 10 pilot sites across the country for 2013-14. The $8,000 AAUW pilot grants are sponsored by the Praxair Foundation.
Additional members of the Ohio University Tech Savvy team are Dr. Morgan Vis, Professor and Chair of Environmental & Plant Biology; Mary Costello, volunteer coordinator for local school outreach; Dr. Ana Rosado Feger, Assistant Professor of Operations in Management Systems; Jean Reese; Dr. Lauren McMills, Director of General Chemistry in Chemistry and Biochemistry; Dr. Elizabeth Gierlowski-Kordesch, Professor of Geological Sciences; and Melanie Schori, AAUW Athens Branch President and a post-doctoral fellow in Plant Bio.
The Tech Savvy model incorporates several key features:
- The event is held at a college or university campus.
- Local female teachers, professors, and professionals lead hands-on workshops.
- Girls learn about a variety of STEM professions.
- Girls gain “Savvy skills” such as negotiation and public speaking.
- Adults attend a daylong simultaneous program to learn about how to support girls in STEM and plan for higher education.
The Tech Savvy conference implements recommendations from AAUW’s 2010 research report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The report details the lack of women studying and working in STEM fields and recommendations ways to interest girls in STEM education, including introducing female role models, breaking down gender stereotypes, building spatial skills, and helping women and girls recognize career-relevant skills.
Registration for the Tech Savvy program at Ohio University will be March 28 through May 3.