ChickTech Raleigh-Durham is hosting a 2-day workshop on December 2-3 2017 at Meredith College to encourage high school girls to enter computing and technical fields. The event culminates with a tech show on Sunday, December 3, 3:30-5:00 p.m. at which ChickTech participants will display the projects they built during the workshop to their families and sponsors.
Participants will choose to work on projects such as creating a robot, 3D-printing, making a smartphone application, e-wearables, user experience design, and video production. They will be mentored by industry and academic professionals from high-tech fields. Participation in the event is free for the girls who have been nominated by their teacher or community advocate. The event is sponsored by the Meredith College School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences.
The event is designed as a fun, positive learning experience to build participants’ confidence in their technical abilities, provide positive role models, and create connections with other young
women from the area. ChickTech uses free open-source software to lower the barrier for girls to continue their projects at home.
ChickTech is a non-profit organization, founded in Portland in 2013, that has been leading an effort locally to encourage more women to enter high-tech fields and now have around 20 chapters nationwide. The Raleigh-Durham chapter was founded in 2016.
ChickTech was founded by Janice Levenhagen-Seeley, who was motivated by her own experiences as a woman in a high-tech field to foster a more inviting culture for women. “It was hard to feel like I belonged as a woman in computer engineering. So I started ChickTech to give other girls and women the support that I didn’t have. I want them to feel like they are welcome and they have unique things that they are bringing to the industry,” Levenhagen-Seeley said.
The host sponsor, Meredith College’s School of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, is dedicated to increasing the number of women working in STEM fields. The School recently earned a nearly $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through a new AWE-STEM scholarship program. Learn more about Meredith College at meredith.edu.