On February 13th, STEM RTP hosted its 3rd annual Building Girls Who Code, a Kids Konnect event in partnership with Fran Melia and NetApp Women in Tech (WIT). The event hosted 98 female students from Lakewood Montessori Middle of Durham Country Public Schools and over 50 volunteers from 13 different companies in the RTP region including NetApp, BD Technology, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Cisco, Citrix, Clorox, Credit Suisse, Fidelity Investments, HPE, IBM, MetLife, Pillar Consulting, UNC, and Vondata Systems.
In the theme of Valentine’s Day, students were encouraged to ‘fall in love with coding’ throughout the day’s activities!
The main activity of the day encouraged students to address issues that they saw in their communities by working in groups of 6 with volunteers to brainstorm an app. Using an app design canvas, students organized their thoughts into a solid app concept that would address the issues they’d chosen. In the second part of the activity called ‘wireframing’, students transferred their concepts from their app development canvas to poster form.
Students also had the opportunity to learn about tech careers and discuss their futures during speed mentoring. Volunteers sat with students for one-on-one five-minute conversations that helped students learn about what careers there are in tech and the many different ways to get to them.
There was also the opportunity to hear from Daisy Magnus-Aryitey, Director of Programs from Code the Dream. As a woman in tech, she was able to share with the students why she loved coding and what coding as a discipline can teach you. She even enlisted the students to help in solving a problem she was tackling in her own work.
After lunch, students presented their apps to their peers and to the gathered volunteers. Some of their incredible ideas included Pawster, an app that aggregates information from local shelters to streamline the pet adoption processes, and Moonlight, which aimed to help teens get more, quality sleep. Other ideas tackled the accessibility of school resources, environment, and community service.
At the end of the event, 78% of the students said they learned something new and 71% said they learned that there are different types of careers in tech. About 50% said they were more interested in a career in tech than they were before Building Girls Who Code!
We are so thankful to Fran Melia, NetApp and NetApp WIT, Daisy Magnus-Aryitey and all of our volunteers for helping make Building Girls Who Code such a successful day! We are also thankful to Durham Distillery who, through their commitment to STEAM education, donated the funds for lunch and Fount Coffee for providing refreshments.
Are you a STEM company interested in running your own Kids Konnect? Read more about them here!
Photography by: Phong Dinh