Approximately 70 girls participated in the Loudoun Girls in Technology (GIT) “Sharing Our Success” event on Thursday, December 4th. The program was held at the Steve Case building at America Online (AOL) in Dulles, Virginia. This was the 3rd event for Loudoun GIT, a committee of Women in Technology, which is dedicated to inspiring girls in grades 6 through 12 in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math (STEAM).
The theme of the evening was all about the girls following their passions, and our three panelists echoed this mantra. Jade Chu of AOL, Dr. Janine Rethy of Rethy MD Consulting, and Shari Goodwin of Jaeger2 encouraged the girls to follow their instincts and their hearts. The world desperately needs girls to enter STEAM professions to be creative problem-solvers alongside the men that typically populate these fields. 10 local girls were even able to follow their own passion for journalism and served as reporters for the evening. They were seated in the front row to take notes and ask questions during the panel.
Our first panelist, Jade Chu, is the Technical Director for Infrastructure Development at AOL. She has a Computer Science Degree from the University of Maryland, and has been with AOL over 9 years. She leads the software engineering organization responsible for AOL’s operations infrastructure automation, which includes Cloud, CMDB, continuous delivery and development services, data center automation, and host and network configuration management.
Our next panelist, Dr. Janine Rethy, is the founder and President of Rethy MD Consulting, through which she helps medical groups achieve best practices in the areas of clinical care, patient satisfaction, and cost efficiency. She does this by utilizing information technology and her past experience as a pediatrician and lactation consultant. She also serves as the Physician Advisor on Obesity and Chronic Disease Prevention for the Loudoun County Health Department, as well as the Childhood Obesity Advisor for Continuing Health by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Our last panelist, Shari Goodwin, is the founder of Jaeger2, a successful business coaching and consulting firm. She is also the author of the inspirational best-seller, Take the Reins! 7 Secrets to Inspired Leadership, which blends leadership and sales strategies with lessons from horses. She has started four companies, including an information technology staffing and consulting firm that generated $2.1 million in its first year.
Following the panel conversation, the girls were treated to exciting demonstrations from many local organizations and companies. The demonstrators included The Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air & Space Museum, Team American Rocketry Challenge (TARC), SySTEMic Solutions, Sunrise Landscape & Design, Safe & Secure Online, and Cortona Academy of Science, Technology, & the Arts.
The girls learned about career opportunities in the computer industry from AOL, the aerospace industry from Orbital Sciences, landscape architecture from Sunrise Landscape and Design, computer security from Safe and Secure Online,educational opportunities from Cortuna Academy and SySTEMic Solutions, , volunteer opportunites at the National Air & Space Museum, Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center and STEAM applications from Team America Rocketry Challenge, First Robotics and STEAMd. The demonstrations gave the girls a hands-on look at various STEAM career opportunities.
During the demonstations, the girls were also encouraged to complete “GITGO” cards, the GIT version of a Bingo card. The cards were created to get the girls to network with all the professional women at the event. The importance of networking for women was stressed by Jill Perla of Perla Art, a local artist and member of Women in Networking Northern Virginia (WINN). Many WINN members engaged the girls during the networking time to talk about their own professional paths.
To wrap up the evening, Loudoun GIT gave out several prizes in the form of fun and educational experiences. A tour of Rackspace,a tour and lunch with executives at Orbital Sciences Corporation and Telos Corporation , lunch with the President of Success Culture, a behind the scenes tour of the Warrenton-Faquier Airport, an orientation ride with Aviation Adventures and autographed copies of Welcome to College!: 101 Ways to Rock Your World were some of the many door prizes that the girls in attendance had an opportunity to win. We thank these businesses for their generous donation of one-on-one time with their employees.