By Puja Punukollu.
On October 6, 2016, the Girls in Technology Fall “Sharing our Success” Program brought over 80 middle and high-school girls from the DC Metro area, to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial for an evening of learning and networking. “Programs like Sharing Our Success, help young girls explore the vast array of opportunities available to women in STEM fields” said Curlis Phillip, Committee Chair.
The girls experienced STEM demonstrations and exhibition by local companies, organizations, and clubs. They also networked with professional women in STEM fields, as well as their peers, and participated in an interactive panel discussion.
About fifteen exhibitors participated in the event including, Microsoft, OmniEarth, Miner & Kasch, TechShop, SAIC, Counterpoint, Mitre, All Media Storytelling, and the Kashmir World Foundation. The FIRST Robotics High School Team, Braddock Elementary VEXIQ Robotics Team, and students from Northern Virginia Community College Information Technology Division provided demos of their current projects. Kashmir Foundation brought three drones and talked to the girls about how the drones are programmed and flown to help the environment.
After the exhibitions, we participated in an interactive panel discussion consisting of four speakers: Princess Aliyah Pandolfi, Founder of Kashmir World Foundation, Linda N. Howard, SVP and Deputy Chief Information Officer at SAIC, Ronni McTier, Program Manager at ICF International and Sajni Vederey, a Thomas Jefferson High School Student and the Founder of STEM All Stars.
The speakers talked about their organization, how they promote diversity, and the obstacles they overcame. They emphasized the importance of passion, diversity, and creativity in the workplace. Ms. McTier told us to “never take no for an answer”.
Overall, the event was very inspiring and educating. It was an invaluable experience, which all the girls will cherish.
Special thanks to SAIC, Women in Technology, STEM for Her, the speaker panel, the exhibitors, and the Women in Military Service for America Memorial for making this event possible.