14th Sharing Our Success – NoVA/DC

(L-R)Scitor, Mayonado, Barko, Short , Snaith, Waller, Mcintosh Menze
(L-R)Scitor, Mayonado, Barko, Short , Snaith, Waller, Mcintosh Menze (Click to see all event photos)

The Girls in Technology Spring Sharing Our Success event, held on Thursday, May 14th at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, brought over 100 young women together from Northern Virginia and DC public schools to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering, arts/design, and math (STEAM). (Click to see all event photos!)

The atmosphere was electric as students engaged a panel of seasoned and young professionals, which included:

  • Dr. Connie Barko, Psychiatry Resident, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
  • Colonel Jody Merritt, Scitor and U.S. Air Force Reserve
  • Lieutenants Commander Jeanine Menze and Joan Snaith, U.S. Coast Guard
  • Major La’Shawna Waller, U.S. Army National Guard
  • Mary Mayonado, Service Line Director, Cybersecurity and Data Science, SAIC
  • Jordyn Short, U.S. Army Corporal
General Wilma Vaught
General (ret.) Wilma Vaught (Click to see all event photos)

Wilma Vaught, U.S. Air Force Brigadier General (ret.) and President of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, provided opening remarks, sharing her journey to becoming one of the most decorated women in U.S. military history. She encouraged the girls to try new things as they think about their career path, and to not be afraid to change their dreams.

Using GIT’s seven core values as talking points, each of the seven panelists spoke about the personal, educational, and professional experiences that influenced and helped shape her career in STEAM fields. The audience was enthralled, hearing several stories that demonstrated how open-mindedness, collaboration, and the willingness to adjust one’s career path can pay off in the long run. When asked how she plans to change the world, Corporal Short responded,

“I plan to soak up as much information as I can, and share it with as many people as I can,” adding, “and never be afraid to ask questions.”

SOS14 Speedmentoring
(click to see all event photos)

Attendees also participated in “speed mentoring” sessions and tech demonstrations, and engaged STEAM exhibitors, which included: CyberPatriot, DC Area Drone User Group, FIRST Robotics, Infamous Robotics, Microsoft, National Institute of Health (NIH), SAIC, TechShop, and Viget.

When asked what she enjoyed most about the event, Erika, a 6th grader at Southern Maryland Christian Academy, could not stop talking about the NIH exhibit, where she learned about all of the great work NIH is doing to educate the public and help cure blood-borne diseases such as Ebola and Hepatitis C.

The Robotics, Drone, Xbox One, and 3D printing demos were also popular with attendees.

Dr. Christopher Vo
Dr. Christopher Vo (click to see all event photos)

Special thanks to all our exhibitors including:

Infamous Robotics:  a globally recognized robotics company that has developed a unique Science Technology Engineering Art and Math (STEAM) curriculum for teaching robotics without kits. The purpose of Infamous Robotics LLC is to prepare our children for the competitive robotics environment they will face in the global economy, giving them the knowledge and tools necessary to become the next robotic inventor.
Exhibit: The girls met Mr. Roboto himself! He and his club demonstrated some of the robots that his students have built and demonstrated at the Smithsonian recently. Mr. Roboto also discussed their upcoming summer camp programs.

SAIC: Building Strong. You are an Army Corps of Engineers officer in charge of building bridges on Belmore island as part of a humanitarian recovery effort after a disastrous earthquake! Build bridges by hand using a variety of materials. Once the bridge is constructed, watch your bridge in action. Forces like stress, tension, compression, and sheering are visualized so you can learn from their mistakes iterate on your design, and Build It Strong.
Exhibit:  Allowed girls to become an Army 35G Geospatial Intelligence Imagery Analyst. They were tasked to locate mission critical assets that have gone missing somewhere on Belmore Island using cryptic clues and a variety of maps to interpret them.

Panelists lined up for speed mentoring
Panelists lined up for speed mentoring (click to see all event photos)

Microsoft: Microsoft has purposefully created a way to bring your favorite devices & services together, creating “One experience for everything in your life”. From Windows, Windows Phone, Office, and Xbox, Microsoft does it best.
Exhibit:  Welcomed girls to a new generation of games and entertainment. Where games push the boundaries of realism. And television obeys your every command. Where listening to music while playing a game is a snap. And you can jump from TV to movies to music to a game in an instant. Where your experience is custom tailored to you. And the entertainment you love is all in one place. Welcome to the all-in-one, Xbox One.  They also talked about the vast possibilities of careers at Microsoft; as well as how they are able to relate technology to their career goals and studies at their respective schools.

First: is a public not-for-profit organization that inspires young peoples’ interest and participation in science and technology. The organization designs accessible, innovative programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math, while building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills.
Exhibit:  FIRST showcased their FRC, FTC and FLL robots to show students that science, technology, and problem-solving are not only fun and rewarding but are proven paths to successful careers and a bright future.
FIRST has generously donated an interview with one of their directors as a raffle prize.

TechShop: is a playground for creativity, located in Alexandria VA. Part fabrication and prototyping studio, part hacker-space and part learning center, TechShop provides access to over $1 million worth of professional equipment and software. The company offers comprehensive instruction and expert staff to ensure customers have a safe, meaningful and rewarding experience. Most importantly, at TechShop customers can explore the world of making in a collaborative and creative environment.
Exhibit:  With their Makerbot Replicator-2, TechShop demonstrated new innovations in 3D printing and the accessibility of Technology.

CyberGirls: CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program was created by the Air Force Association to inspire high school students toward careers in c​ybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.
Exhibit: A mentor from Women in Technology’s Cyber Girls program discussed the program and showing a demo of the practice sessions and National competition.

DC Area Drone User Group: (DC DUG) is an organization for amateur and professional drone users that seeks to promote the responsible use of flying robots for community service, artistic, entrepreneurial, and recreational purposes. We work to educate ourselves about how to build and use drones in a safe and respectful manner and to educate the public about the positive role aerial robotics can play in our society. Most importantly, we think that flying robots are a lot of fun! DC DUG is a member of the Drone User Group Network, an association of community organizations that promote the use of civilian drone technology for the benefit of humanity.
Exhibit:  DC DUG brought members with their drones in a cordoned-off area of the exhibit hall. Girls were able to talk with Dr. Christopher Vo, who organizes the group, about building and flying drones.


Special thanks to our corporate sponsor SAIC, the Women in Technology Education Foundation, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, our speaker panel, and the exhibitors for making this event possible.


The Girls in Technology committee hosts 4-6 ‘Sharing Our Success’ events and a mentor protégé program in the DC Metro area each year. Visit http://www.womenintechnology.org/git for upcoming event details. If you are interested in serving on an SOS panel, or as a mentor, contact curlisphillip@hotmail.com.

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