By Jenny Oh.
Now that the summer is over, and school is back in session, September/October means full on Girls in Technology mode! It’s been a few months since I have been in GIT mode, but now that it is ON, my heart is glad to be in my happy zone. 🙂
As we welcome back mentors to the GIT program, this year, we decided to do things a little differently. We held a Webinar for our Virginia Mentor Orientation. I hope the mentors enjoyed this new web format. We had a fantastic turnout of ~40 participants!!
Our GIT Mentors are #WomenInSTEM who volunteer their time to mentor high school girls. I want to applaud these women for for their commitment to the GIT program, and for proactively making a difference in young girls lives. Our program’s success is due to our amazing mentors. Thank you to new mentors joining us, and I am also so proud and thankful to say that we have 27 returning mentors this year. 🙂
The goal of the GIT Mentor-Protege Program is really to connect young girls interested in STEM with women who are in STEM. We want to be a role model and show them how to be females in STEM. GIT Mentors help the proteges to make academic/career decisions, understand new STEM fields and the opportunities and advantages of being a woman in STEM. We want the girls to learn and embody the GIT 7 Core Beliefs, so that after the program, they will be more confident and empowered to become leaders in their endeavors. We also want to encourage girls to apply for the GIT scholarship as well as other opportunities. We need to teach girls how to participate and to compete.
Mentoring high school girls is not too hard, they are quite mature and bright, and often times much more sophisticated and intelligent than we expected. They are so eager, curious, and excited to hear your advice. But keep in mind that at their age, they may be shy, insecure, and unsure. IT IS a scary thing to think about choosing that one college major. How do they know they should pursue science, especially if their grades aren’t straight A’s? And THIS is where the disconnect happens. Why girls don’t pursue STEM after high school. Some girls shy away from pursuing STEM further because they feel as if they don’t know enough. And because they don’t know enough, they feel as if they are not good enough. 🙁
THIS IS WHY WE NEED MENTORS. THIS IS WHY WE NEED YOU. We need our mentors to help girls understand the opportunities, to help girls stay motivated, and to help them have the confidence to pursue their futures. I like the phrase, “You have to see it, to be it.” And to them, YOU ARE IT. They need to see women in STEM. They need to hear your stories. They need to hear about your successes, and your failures. When they can relate to your story, the more they will start seeing their own potential.
We had a group exercise of coming up with traits of a great mentor:
Our mentors are successful women in STEM, and we are thrilled that they are donating their time to pave the way for our proteges. We really want our mentors to enjoy the experience as a mentor. Keep in mind that the purpose of our mentoring sessions is to make learning about STEM fun and engaging in a safe and supportive environment. We look forward to seeing you at every GIT session, and we thank you again for making a difference for the next generation. 🙂
You can watch and listen to our Mentor Orientation Webinar:
Click: For Orientation Slides
*Thank you Nancy Lamberton, Trish Barber, and Whitney Vickrey for your support*