Tech Sassy Girlz Presents 5th Annual Conference
Presented by Oracle Academy Event Provides Opportunity to Learn About STEM Careers,
Hands-On Demos, Engineering Design Challenges and Networking with Women Tech Leaders
(Orlando, Fla.) – Tech Sassy Girlz, the signature outreach program of Collegiate Pathways, Inc., (CPI) is hosting its fifth annual conference, geared to middle and high school girls, on Saturday, October 22nd at the College of Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Presented by Oracle Academy, the one-day event will provide hands-on fun demonstrations, engineering design challenges, a UCF campus tour, as well as the chance to network with women technology business leaders to learn more about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). It also includes a special session geared specifically for parents.
According to national research, in 2018, 8 million STEM jobs will be available in the United States, but the vast majority of U.S. students will be unprepared to fill them. 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields. The Federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector need many more. STEM fields are at the core of the nation’s innovation. “Tech Sassy Girlz was created to stop the statistic that every 26 seconds a student drops out of high school. For years, my dream was to change this and develop a pipeline for future women leaders in STEM,” says Laine Powell, M.Ed., MSM, CPI Founder. “My friends finally got tired of hearing me talk about my dream and pushed me to do something about it. Thus, I founded Collegiate Pathways in 2012, and the rest is history. Our programs are sparking interest in young girls that will open doors and expand their vision. We are cultivating innovators, makers and pioneers of the future.”
In September, Tech Sassy Girlz became an official partner of the White House initiative Computer Science for All (CSfor4All). Its goal is to empower all students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science (CS) which is being widely recognized as a “new basic” skill necessary for increased economic opportunity and social mobility.
“Computer science and data science are not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector,” says Powell. “It gives students opportunities to be producers, not just consumers, in the digital economy, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world,” she adds.
In 2015, research showed that only 22 percent of students taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science exam were girls, and only 13 percent were African-American or Latino students. These statistics mirror the current makeup of some of America’s largest and more innovative tech firms, where women comprise less than one-third of their technical employees, and African-Americans less than 3 percent.
CS can help foster computational thinking skills that are relevant to many disciplines and careers, such as breaking a large problem into smaller ones, recognizing how new problems relate to ones that have already been solved, setting aside details of a problem that are less important, and identifying and refining the steps needed to reach a solution. Conferences and events that foster STEM by providing access to mentors and immersion are helping to inspire young girls. CPI’s Tech Sassy Girlz program empowers and encourages underrepresented middle and high school girls to pursue STEM fields through college preparation, career readiness, and mentoring.
Featured conference speakers include:
- Raina Yancey – Senior Technical Engineer, Oracle Corporation
- Arlene Walker – Senior Director, Customer Success Management for Oracle Corporation
- Grace Johnson, Technical Project Manager, NASA
- Benita Desuza, Community Connection & Program Analyst, NASA
- Stephanie Valderrama – Creative Director/Social Architect, Limbitless Solutions
- Sabrina Torres – Mechanical Engineering student, UCF, Limbitless Solutions
- Ken Falana – Principle Technical Support Engineer, Oracle Engineered Systems Support Engineering
- Eric Hylick – Senior Technical Engineer, Oracle Corporation
- Joyce Odongo – Senior Community Development Officer, Wells Fargo
The free conference is open to middle and high school girls and takes place from 10am – 4pm at UCF, with lunch included. To register and obtain more details, visit the events section of the website at www.collegiatepathways.org or email TSG@collegiatepathways.org. Seating is limited so advanced registration is required.