By Jenny Oh.
The 12th annual Sharing Our Success (SOS) event was held on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at the SAIC conference center in McLean, VA. With over 100 attendees, that included girls from across the Washington DC Metropolitan area, their parents/guardians, demo presenters, and panelist speakers, the energy in the packed conference center was contagious!
One repeat attendee was Mr. Tra, a computer science teacher at Falls Church HS, accompanied by a group of girls who are part of the GiTech club at their school. GiTech was inspired by GIT and created to demystify science and technology through hands-on and collaborative learning experiences.
STEAM Demonstrations that Rocked!
One of the most interactive parts of SOS was the hands-on demonstrations, where various STEAM-related local, national, and global companies showcased their latest products, technologies, and ideas. The girls had a lot of fun getting hands-on experience with the following great activities:
- Flying a drone (Verizon)
- Watching a 3-D printer make game pieces (Microsoft Store)
- Playing a computer simulator designed to locate missing assets (SAIC)
- Pedaling a bicycle that demonstrated energy efficiency (Navigant Consulting, Inc.)
- Learning how to develop secure passwords (Phase One Consulting Group)
- Posting inspirational messages through Instagram (Sticky Inspiration)
- Designing software a security program (Unisysis)
- Learning about wearable technology (Tailored Nest)
- Learning about online opportunities for education (K12)
- Creating robots (Infamous Robotics, LLC)
- Learning about virtualization technologies (VMWare)
Through the interactive nature of the demos, the girls were able to experience the technologies first hand, as well as ask questions of the industry experts to learn more about how they can academically prepare for careers in the related STEAM fields.
A Panel of Women Leaders who Inspired
Before beginning the panel discussion, Colleen Oresky SAIC Vice President for Intelligence Community Solutions and WIT Board Member and Anika Lalmansingh GIT’s Northern Virginia Sharing Our Success Chair, welcomed everyone. Anika emphasized the importance of girls participating in the STEAM fields and encouraged them to always ask questions; because asking questions is fundamental to understanding the world and developing their passions.
Moderated by Sima Shahin, Northern Virginia Sharing Our Success Committee Member, the panelists of distinguished professional women leaders included Jill Walsh, Network Security Architect, Stealth Solutions of Unisys; Linda Howard, Sr. Vice President, Deputy Chief Information Officer of SAIC; Emily Mossburg, Principal of Deloitte & Touche LLP; and Nina Somerville, General Manager, Specialist Team & Microsoft Technology Center of Microsoft Federal.
With a wealth of experience and knowledge, the speakers addressed questions from Sima and from the audience. Some of the thoughtful questions from the girls included:
Q: When you were our age, how did it impact who you are today?
A: The interactions that you have with your friends and family will and do have an impact. This will shape you into who you are later in life along with what you like to do and how you came about doing and liking those things.
Q: What are some of the stereotypes between men and women?
A: Some of the classic stereotypes are that men are bold while women are passive and emotional. Just be confident, motivated and convicted and you will prove those stereotypes wrong.
Q: Does what college you attend matter? Or is it more beneficial to study hard? What do you look for when hiring?
A: What matters is what you make out of your experience and that you are following your passions. Are you interviewing at the company because you are passionate about the position or because it is merely a job?
Q: What is the most important thing to know?
A: Yourself. Who you are, what you like and don’t like. Be very specific in self-awareness, for example, do you want to travel or stay local? These types of questions and answers can help you decide on what types of career and companies to pursue. Also, have a plan. Know what you want. But also learn to be flexible and know when and how to change when your plan isn’t what you want anymore
Q: What is the mindset we should have to discover our calling?
A: It is okay not to know what you want to do right now. Just have a thirst for knowledge. Learn as much as you can about anything and everything that you can. This will help you identify what you like and don’t like and what you are interested in.
Final Thoughts from the Youngest Attendee
Hi! My name is Aleina and I am 10 years old. I had the opportunity to attend the GIT’s Sharing our Success program. There I met a lot of women who have careers in the STEAM field. One of the demos I checked out goes by the name of ‘Sticky Inspirations’. What an unusual name! The mastermind behind Sticky Inspirations is Reggie Black. His cool concept is to make someone feel inspired everyday by posting inspirational quotes onto sticky notes for strangers to find and to be inspired to voice their own creativity kind a like what I’m doing now!
I ended the night by listening to a panel of speakers. I learned to be confident in myself, to always stand up and speak up for myself, and to always ask questions!
Special Thanks to:
Our corporate sponsor SAIC
The companies who donated the raffle prizes:
- FrontStream Payments
- NT Concepts
- Link Solutions
- Dulles Case Center
- Tricia Boland
The companies who provided demos
- Microsoft Store
- Navigant Consulting
- Phase One
- Tailored Nest
- Sticky Inspirations
- Infamous Robotics LLC
- K 12, Inc.