Non-profit ignites young women’s interest in technology through Hackdays and Media Arts
Cleveland, Ohio -- When they are in middle school, 74 percent of young women express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), yet when it comes time to select a college major, only 0.3 percent of high school girls choose computer science and only 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women. HER Ideas in Motion, a Cleveland-based 501c(3) non-profit organization focused on helping girls persist in technology and media arts, is working to change those statistics by preparing women for more than 1.4 million good-paying STEM-related job openings that are expected in the U.S. by 2020.
The National Center for Women & Information Technology attributes the deficit of young women pursuing technology careers to curriculum that has relied too much on lecturing instead of hands-on projects, a lack of knowledge among girls about computing careers, teaching styles that have historically discouraged collaboration, lower confidence among young women even when their levels of achievement are similar to boys, and few opportunities to take risks and make mistakes. (NCWIT, 2012)
Tackling those issues head-on, HER Ideas in Motion provides young women, between the ages of nine and fourteen, with innovative, hands-on, project-based computer coding, web design, game development and filmmaking workshops to give them real-world insights into working in a technical field.
Trained technical leaders and professionals teach young women in various workshops how to build websites, software and mobile applications, and code in different languages, including HTML and CSS. To build a well-rounded foundation and demonstrate the many creative applications of a technology degree, girls at HER Ideas in Motion are encouraged to express their inventiveness with explorations into areas such as filmmaking and video game development.
HER Ideas in Motion provides young women with innovative, hands-on, project-based computer coding, web design, game development and filmmaking workshops to give them real-world insights into working in a technical field.
“The majority of technology programs teach individuals some coding,” says Founder, Rachel Wilkins Patel. “What sets HER Ideas in Motion apart from the rest is our passion to explore the various creative opportunities these fields can present, including filmmaking. We don’t want to simply expose girls to technology and hope they’ll enjoy it. We want to excite and inspire them by demonstrating how creative ideas come to life through technology. ”
Led by female technology professionals on Saturdays throughout the year, the workshops include:
Following a HER Ideas workshop, 82 percent of attendees have said they would like to pursue more classes in technology with 77 percent of girls saying they’d like to go into technology as a career.
Workshops cost $40 per child or $50 for parent-child Hack Days and HER Ideas in Motion is committed to providing scholarships for 10 percent of girls who attend HER Ideas in Motion workshops each year. The scholarship program is funded by donor gifts and interested families can apply at herideasinmotion.com.
In-School Tech Clubs
For more immersive programs, HER Ideas in Motion’s Tech Clubs are in-school programs where girls learn technical and creative skills over a series of weeks. Girls gain real-world insights into what it is like to work in these fields, while developing their own technology.
According to Domenic Paolo, PhD, Superintendent of Fairport Harbor Schools, “As a school superintendent, I am entrusted with the education of every student who enrolls in Fairport Harbor Schools. This responsibility extends beyond graduation and into their adult lives and livelihoods. With technology skills intersecting so many of the successful careers today and into the foreseeable future, I cannot stand idly by while gender inequities negatively impact so many of my students. For that reason, I am thrilled to bring “HER Ideas in Motion” to our school district.”
Wilkins Patel concurs, “Technology continues to evolve at such a rapid pace and computer science careers are some of the fastest-growing, highest-paying careers in the United States. It’s critical that we ignite girls’ interest in this field, so they are qualified to fill the many lucrative jobs that will be created over the next few decades and equipped to have a voice in the innovations that will shape our future.”
Parents, teachers, school administrators, volunteers and potential community partners can learn more about HER Ideas in Motion or register for a workshop by calling (330) 552-8308) or visiting herideasinmotion.com.
For more information, to schedule an interview or feature a workshop, please contact:
Rachel Wilkins Patel | HER Ideas In Motion
Ph: (330) 552-8308
About HER Ideas in Motion
HER Ideas in Motion is a Cleveland-based 501c3 nonprofit corporation focused on providing opportunities for girls to achieve in technology and media arts. Through hands-on workshops and tech clubs, girls learn technical and creative skills from professionals, while building their own projects. In addition, HER Ideas in Motion has developed a women-led approach that combines female technical and creative professionals teaching and mentoring girls to provide access to female role models in these fields. Through education and empowerment, HER Ideas in Motion aims to close the gender gap of the less than ¼ percent ratio of women to men working in these fields.