DigiGirlz Hartford Exposes Middle School Girls to Careers in STEM

Apr 18, 2018   |   Michael DePalma, Community Development Specialist, Westfarms Mall

DigiGirlz Hartford at A.I. Prince Technical High School exposes girls to careers in STEM.

On Friday, March 23, over 60 girls middle school girls from local Hartford schools were invited to A.I. Prince Technical High School to get exposure on STEM-related careers and activities during our annual DigiGirlz program. These women attended sessions on entrepreneurship (“Starting Your Own Business”), creativity (“Digital Art with FreshPaint”), and coding (“Hands-on Python Coding”), hosted by the school and Microsoft Store Westfarms, They heard from the Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut Nancy Wyman and Commissioner of Education Dianna Wentzell on the future of careers revolving around STEM.

DigiGirlz Hartford at A.I. Prince Technical High School exposes girls to careers in STEM.

“Our Microsoft Store provides such valuable programs to support kids wanting to learn about STEM careers and our DigiGirlz program is our key initiative to inspire girls,” said Northeast Region Community Manager Anissa Battaglino.

The girls then heard from Dr. Jacquelynn Garofano, staff research scientist at United Technologies Research Center, and Mary Crean, vice president of marketing and development at United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut, on their real-world involvement in STEM careers.

Dr. Garofano shared her current work, which involves solving the toughest scientific challenges to deliver next generation technologies for the aerospace and commercial business units of United Technologies. She related to the girls on how there may be struggles in their lives, but told them that we, as women need to empower ourselves! Mary Crean displayed her diverse experience bringing three concept-to-reality businesses (Fitness, Wearable Art, and Video Production) to life, and how involvement in STEM allowed these businesses to be more seamless.

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After the speeches, the girls watched a powerful YouthSpark DigiGirlz video, depicting that most individuals don’t know influential female inventors, but showed these prevailing women inventors in multiple STEM careers and inspiring these women to #MakeWhatsNext.

Patricia Mann, who runs the Information Systems and Technology Department at A.I. Prince, helped provide hands-on experience with the girls for our coding session.

“We give them awareness that it’s not just a male-driven society — it’s about the females as well,” Mann said. “You don’t have to know all the answers, but you can figure it out, so that’s the problem-solving skills that I think is important in any job.”

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