VA GIT Girls Ready to Change the World!!

By Jenny Oh.

Final smallThe Virginia GIT Mentor Protégé Program held Session 5, the final session of the season, on Wednesday, March 12, 2014. The evening was lively with several guest attendances, graduation ceremony, and several STEM related announcements and awards.

George Mason University Computer Game Design Course Winner!
The evening started off with much excitement. The Women in Technology Education Foundation in partnership with the George Mason University awarded a lucky GIT Girl with the opportunity to attend GMU’s Computer Game Design Summer Program. The WIT Education Foundation funds many educational programs to support their mission in empowering girls and young women towards STEM related careers. The collaboration is intended to cultivate an interest in young girls towards computers and game design.

Sandy Ramani (GMU), the ecstatic GIT Girl winner names Zara and Tricia Boland (WIT Education Foundation).
Sandy Ramani (GMU), Zara (GIT Girl winner), and Tricia Boland (WIT Education Foundation)

GMU student representative, Sandy Ramani, joined the evening session to provide an overview of the GMU Computer Game Design Program. She shared her personal journey as a female minority in the STEM field, as well as her goals and intentions of being a force in the STEM field. It was a real treat for the GIT Girls to have a young and relatable role model.

GIT Girls were encouraged to apply for the opportunity several months ago. Together with Tricia Boland, representing the Women in Technology Education Foundation, Sandy and Tricia announced the recipient of the GMU Computer Game Design Summer Program!!!

We hope to hear back from the lucky GIT Girl about her amazing experience!

Izella Dornell, Deputy Chief Information Officer at the US Department of Commerce
Izella Dornell, Deputy Chief Information Officer, US Department of Commerce

Speaker – Izella Dornell
Ms Izella Dornell, the Deputy Chief Information Officer at the US Department of Commerce, was the featured panelist for the evening. Ms Dornell is one of the funniest speakers in GIT history. With her heartfelt personal stories and hilarious sense of humor, Ms Dornell instantly hit it off with the audience. Her career began in Houston, Texas, at the NASA Johnson Space Center. Her dream for NASA began at a tender young age. As a young girl she remembers watching the lunar landing footage of astronauts bouncing on the moon, but the phrase that resonated within her young heart and set the course for her future ambitions was: “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind”. She decided at an early age that she too, wanted to be part of the leap towards something bigger and greater. She armored herself with the education and self-confidence to break barriers to achieve her dreams. Throughout the evening, Ms Dornell shared many stories to address questions about career trajectory, leadership, female obstacles, and successes. She even addressed a question about how she feels as a female leader about the recent “Ban Bossy” media coverage.

Ms Dornell shared a personal secret that success is an outcome of attitudes and decisions that are smart, ingenious and positive. Ms Dornell has left an indelible impression on the room full of young bright-eyed protégés (and mentors) to dream big. Ms Dornell is truly an inspiration for young women in STEM, and we thank you for taking the giant leap forward for women and the future of STEM.

GIT Graduation
The Girls in Technology Mentor Protégé program is intended to cultivate the interest and confidence for young girls to pursue passionate and successful futures in STEM. The program is designed so that GIT Girls can explore the vast and lucrative opportunities in the STEM fields; reflect on their own passions and how they can pair it with STEM; understand that leadership and success also involves fear and failure; and learn how to set attainable and measurable goals. GIT Girls also learned about the 7 Core Beliefs, which provides them a leading edge in how to formulate thought processes and develop their own confidence to impact the world around them.

VA Graduation Group
VA GIT 2013/2014 Graduation, click to see more photos

The GIT Girls are talented, intellectually curious, eager, and now, empowered. During the Graduation Ceremony, each GIT Girl took the stage and told us their future goals and how they plan on changing the world.

These are some of the remarkable responses from our inspiring young protégés:

This is what I want to do, and this is how I am going to change the world…

  • I want to study STEM and breakdown the perception that STEM is nerdy, so that more girls will pursue STEM education
  • I want to empower and encourage more women to be leaders
  • I want to become a CEO or Founder of my own company, and help more girls to be their own boss
  • I want to work in the government and lead the effort to integrate government and women in STEM, maybe even become the first woman President (watch out Hillary)
  • I want to go into Engineering, and encourage girls to pursue engineering
  • I want to create a new social media network
  • I want to encourage more girls to purse computer science
  • I want to help others, so I want to become a doctor
  • I want to improve education opportunities, especially for girls
  • Combine programming and computer graphics to encourage other females to do the same
  • I want to become a doctor and go to Africa to help cure malaria
  • I want to move to a underprivileged country to help educate women in those areas
  • I want to help more women pursue careers in robotics
  • I want to go into intelligence so that I can fight the war against drugs
  • I want to Help people in third world countries purse their dreams
  • I want to study computer science and help people in third world countries so that they can have access to the knowledge as the rest of the world
  • I want to become a surgeon and travel the world to help young child who need surgery
  • I want to be a woman leader, because women make the best leaders. I want to prove that women can do it all.
  • Women are a very small minority on submarine duty, I would like to increase women’s presences on submarines
  • I want to pursue a future in finance so that I can help the minority become financially successful
  • My passion is in preserving the environment, so I would like to study and have a career in environmental science

We are proud of every GIT Girl! We hope that GIT Girls have learned from the program, from the experiences of our speakers, and from the guidance from their mentors in order to become courageous and competent women. We hope you continue to cultivate your interests, passions, and education, and apply them to be a force for good in the world around you.

Keeping in Touch


Though the GIT Mentor-Protégé program has ended for the year, we hope that each and every one of you will keep in touch with the program, WIT leaders, speakers, and mentors throughout your academic and career path. We would like to know what college you went to, how you are doing in college, what courses you are taking, what internship or job you landed. Perhaps you can come back and be a speaker and share your experience to the next generation of girls! Remember to keep in touch with each other and support each other, your business partner could be your fellow protégé!

Mentors – THANK YOU!
Mentors – thank you for being the role model and guidance for the GIT Girls. Thank you for your dedication to attend each session and for your passion in cultivating our youth. Thank you for listening to our dreams, our fears, and offering advice and direction. It truly does take a mentor to make a difference in a young girl’s life. Thank you for being that champion, thank you for being that difference.

Speakers – THANK YOU!
Speakers – thank you for attending our sessions to share your experiences and answering our questions about STEM careers, academic options, and offering advice. We commend you in your courage and achievements, thank you for paving the path for us. Thank you for teaching us to dream big, and being the living proof that women can achieve anything!


YouTube Video

Click to watch the overview of the VA GIT Program 2013/2014!
Click to watch the overview of the VA GIT Program 2013/2014!

(Turn up your speakers, and maximize your screens!)









Click here for a copy of our slides from that evening!

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