By: Zora F. 

Completing my Gold Award project was all that you think it is - stressful but worth it. 

I am interested in many different fields, but STEAM has always been a passion of mine. I have become heavily involved in community partners that focus on technology such as Women In Technology’s WIT Girl program, GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science), Black Girls Code, 100 Girls of Code, Girls Who Code and many others since middle school.  My favorite and most involved STEAM program has been Women In Technology’s WIT Girls.  

I wanted to share the WIT Girl experience with my friends in school, so I created The Women In Technology’s WIT Girls Club. The club’s goal is to expose the girls to STEAM careers. The club partnered with the Women In Technology (WIT) organization as a resource & partnership to help form a structure and guide for club activities. I drafted a curriculum to use as a model to set up clubs in other schools in the community. The WIT Girls Club addressed the issue that awareness of technology careers for girls that are interested in STEAM are limited.

Throughout the club year we had three guest speakers and I hosted a panel with about three WIT girl ambassadors. I had six club meetings, six WIT events, and one community partner project which was the Girls Who Code summer internship.

I had one speaker who was my WIT girls mentor, Natalie Walker. She came and talked to the girls about the importance of LinkedIn and how to get your LinkedIn page started. 

I also had a panel of WIT Girl Ambassadors over Zoom talk to the girls about WIT and their experience of WIT and how that got the most out of the program.

During the club meeting, I announced the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program.  I had two girls from the club complete the Girls Who Code summer immersion program. The summer immersion program was a two week paid internship ($300.00) where the girls were taught computer science skills to make an impact on their community.  Our high school does not have computer science classes.  So, by taking the summer immersion program the girls were exposed to computer science. 

The impact is that I have grown as a leader because I had to lead in front of my classmates and peers.  Having to plan and orchestrate the club meeting and events developed my leadership and communications skills on a whole different level. 

When necessary, I would have private meetings to discuss issues. I took a risk by asking the WIT ambassadors to do the panel because I didn’t think anyone would be interested.  I wanted to expose more girls to WIT so they can have the experience that I had to learn about careers in WIT, have a mentor, and have the WIT experience.  During WIT events and during my research I learned how the project contributed to the community by exposing the high school to STEAM even though we are a Fine Arts Magnet Education (FAME) public high school. So being a FAME school, a technology club was very, very new to them. 

The continued impact of the WIT Girls Club at New Manchester High School is another example of my continual impact to continue to evolve the club to be as well known as Beta or DECA at our school.  The impact is a club at each middle and high school and an increased number of girls in the WIT Girl program. The club model has never been done for WIT so the impact would increase numbers throughout the metro area, in turn more girls would be exposed to careers in the STEAM fields.  As a WIT Girl Ambassador, I will continue to use my network to roll out the club. This school year three WIT Girls have reached out to start clubs at their schools. They are using the curriculum that I wrote as a guide to set up their own WIT Girls Club. 

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