Women are seriously underrepresented in math, science and engineering-related fields. Many girls and women shy away from any sort of scientific or technical activity, despite the importance of these areas in today’s economy.
“According to extensive research conducted by the Girl Scouts of America, one of the problems is girls learn differently than boys. They do better when they are not outnumbered by boys as they are in most regular classroom environments,” explained Noreen Legault Mendoza, founding director of Geeki Girl Inc.
All that is about to change. On Feb. 1, South Dade Senior High School and Geeki Girl Inc. will join forces and host the first annual “Geeki Girls Can Do Anything ” Conference. This full day event will bring together middle school girls — public, private and home schooled students — together with professional women working in science, technology, engineering, art and math careers.
Geeki Girl is a non-profit corporation based in South Florida. Its mission is to promote STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) education and career planning for girls and women. Geeki Girl volunteer staff is composed of Miami area business people, teachers, computer scientists, writers, artist and parents, working together to achieve the goals of Geeki Girl:
1. Provide young women with opportunities to meet and interact with positive role models, who are active in science, technology, engineering and math-related careers.
2. Increase the interest of young women in math and science by providing exciting hands-on learning experiences that are relevant to their everyday life.
3. Foster awareness of career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art and math.
4. Add art to the studies of STEM education to demonstrate its benefits and relevancy to people’s lives while increasing creative thinking in all areas.
5. Exhibit the way art can assist STEM in unleashing entrepreneurial innovation.
Attendees will hear from keynote speakers and attend two workshops of their choice. Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell, one of the event’s sponsors, will welcome these local students and introduce the event’s keynote speaker, Ms. Ximena Prugue.
Prugue, a mechanical engineering undergraduate student and research assistant at Florida International University, received the Clinton Global Initiative Outstanding Commitment Award for her work on Giving the Green Light and was the United Nation’s Environmental Programme’s official blogger for World Environment Day 2011 in India.
Girls will be able to select two different one-and-a-half-hour-long hands-onworkshops to attend. Choices include workshops lead by doctors, auto and helicopter mechanics, game designers, a scientist, an accountant, a police detective, an Air Force major, an engineer, a music entrepreneur, nutritionists, agricultural scientists, an architect, and an entomologist. Many of these science and technology aspects appear in the girls’ favorite movies or TV programs and in the media they use daily, making each workshop relevant to their life and interesting to the imagination.
Cost for this fun-filled, educational day is only $10. Tickets can be purchased at www.geekigirl-events.com or through Eventbright at www.eventbrite.com/e/geekigirls- can-do anything-tickets-9856314502.
Parents will have their own workshop to attend, free of charge, where they will hear an informative discussion on ways to pay for college. They also will be given tips on the best ways to promote STEAM education for their daughters by breaking possible use of stereotyping language that could negatively affect their girls’ achievements.
Each registered girl will receive a Geeki Girl T-shirt, proving to the world she is a Geeki Girl. Thanks to the generous support of the Economic Development Council of South Miami-Dade, lunch will be served to guests, speakers and volunteers. Other sponsors include Baptist Health South Florida, Global Risk LLC, Career Technical Education, Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ South Dade Senior High School.
For more information on the organization and its mission, visit www.geekigirl.org.