Fostering Technology Interest Among High School Girls
Donna M. Grant (DePaul University, USA), Linda V. Knight (DePaul University, USA) and Theresa A. Steinbach (DePaul University, USA)
Copyright: © 2006
This article describes a pilot program that uses a holistic approach to address the multitude of barriers girls face when considering a career in the information technology (IT) field. Girls with Engineering Mindz (GEMz) is a highly structured technology program developed to encourage female high school students to embrace technology while strengthening their academic, personal, and social development. GEMz is not just a program for girls to develop technical skills. The premise of the GEMz program is to attract and maintain its participants by developing multiple components of the “whole” person. The GEMz program was designed to attract its participants to the IT industry through a three-prong strategy: develop technical skills in a societal framework, enhance basic life skills, and promote positive self-images. The name GEMz was selected to promote enthusiasm and collaboration among program participants. Teams are given the names of precious gems, (e.g., Diamonds, Rubies, etc.) to symbolize their positive self-worth as valuable contributors to both technology and their communities.