Syracuse University

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iSchool to host second annual "Girls are I.T." event in March

February 22, 2011

Kate Holloway

Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool), in conjunction with the Girl Scouts of NYPENN Pathways and Say Yes to Education Syracuse, will host a number of middle school-aged girls from the Central New York area on Saturday, March 5, for the second annual “Girls are I.T.” event.

The daylong program, designed to introduce the girls to the field of information technology, is a repeat of last year’s successful program that hosted 39 girls from Cato, Clinton, DeWitt, East Syracuse, Jamesville, Rome, Skaneateles and Syracuse, N.Y.

“The goal of the event is to break gender stereotypes by allowing girls to get creative with technology in a comfortable environment,” says Julie Walas, director of undergraduate recruitment at the iSchool, who organized the event. “It’s part of our mission to excite girls about technology.”

The partnership between the Girl Scouts and the iSchool started last year, when the local Girl Scouts approached Walas to ask for brochures about technology programs offered at SU and the iSchool.

“It’s one of my personal missions to recruit an incoming class that has a diverse mix of strong students,” Walas says. Similarly, one of the Girl Scouts’ goals is to provide members with more technology education.

The girls will be able to sign up for four of eight classes taught by iSchool staff and student volunteers on blogging, web design, YouTube and video editing, music production, sports informatics, social media, innovating information and technology entrepreneurship.

According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT), women comprised only 25 percent of professional IT-related occupations in the 2008 U.S. workforce. Changing this imbalance has become a national concern in recent years, inspiring the creation of national education incentives to get young girls more interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

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