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twenty-sided woman Posts

Evolving the Message

This past year has marked the beginning of what I suspect will be a long journey for me (and hopefully others!) to improve the state of STEM education in the country with a sort of grassroots approach. There are many different demographics to focus on, and I’ve chosen to focus on what I know and what I can speak to – women in STEM careers. There’s plenty of room for others who choose to focus on different demographics, but between my personal passion on the subject and the significant decline in female interest in STEM careers like computer science, the call…

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TechEd 2011: Moderating the Women in Technology Panel

Fresh off the heels of my appearance at this week’s Seattle IxDA “Women in Design” event, I have another appearance to share: next Tuesday, I’m honored to be moderating the annual Women in Technology panel at Microsoft TechEd 2011 in Atlanta, GA. TechEd 2011: WIT01 WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY LUNCHEON Developing a Strong Support Network: The Key to Being Successful as Women in Technology Tuesday, May 17 11:30 – 1:00 (Lunch will be served) Georgia Ballroom 2 Moderator: Cheryl Platz (me!) Panelists: Mary Jo Foley, Amy Barzdukas, Betsy Speare The WIT panel is historically well-attended and well-reviewed – please join us! If…

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IGNITE: Brighter Future Fundraising Walk

I write about IGNITE a good deal because it’s a cause close to my heart, and I also serve as an executive board member for the organization. It’s a difficult time in our history – we were founded with funding from the Seattle School District as a nonprofit organization, and due to educational funding cuts we must now make our financial way independently. It’s now necessary for us to conduct a capital campaign to stay afloat.

To kick off our capital campaign, we’re sponsoring the first annual “Women and Girls Walking Together for a Brighter Future” event, where current students and adults passionate about the cause will walk together on a 3-mile quest to raise money for IGNITE.

IGNITE a Brighter Future Walk
Sunday, June 5th
Nathan Hale High School, Seattle WA
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Please consider joining us – but even if you can’t, please consider making a donation to support my walk or one of our students. Every little bit helps in this challenging time for our organization, and it makes a huge difference to the girls.

We have an over 10-year history of impacting tens of thousands of girls – not just in Seattle, but across the country and now the world. We’ve formed chapters from Seattle to New York State, and we are now working with fledgling chapters in Nigeria. Discussions are underway to form other international chapters in countries like Egypt, Libya, and England. It’s an incredible opportunity to make a difference in womens’ lives across the world – we’re extremely passionate about increasing our reach in the US, but we also have the rare chance to also impact young women who face even more cultural bias than we do.

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On the other side of the field trip

Another key part of the Seattle-area IGNITE experience is the class field trip to work locations. A few weeks ago, I got to participate in a panel for an IGNITE class here on a field trip. Around here, Microsoft is the most frequent destination of choice – we can pull out all the stops with things like the Home of The Future tour, an interactive installation designed to mock up – shockingly – the uses of technology in homes 5-10 years out. Typically by invitation only, but a great way to spark an imagination. (But I don’t want that to discourage anyone who wants to help by hosting their own class tours… remember that ALL of this is new for these girls. How often did you get to see a workplace without your parents?)

This most recent panel, a Microsoft on-campus field trip panel for Marysville High School, was actually surprising for me because there were quite a few boys in attendance. Nothing wrong with that, but always a surprise since IGNITE is focused on encouraging girls to pursue careers in technology. I have to admit, my first reaction was trepidation – my memory of high school boys is not a forgiving one, and I was worried they’d be disruptive or disrespectful. I was delighted to find that not only were the guys in attendance polite, but very attentive and they asked some very good questions during Q&A. While I still believe our primary methods (girls-only activities) are useful and valid because they create a safe place where girls can explore and have a voice without being drowned out, it’s a nice surprise to be able to share with both genders for a change. Continue reading On the other side of the field trip

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