Algoma District School Board Girl Powered workshop brought together girls and female mentors from the local STEM community
The Algoma District School Board (ADSB) was proud to be one of the hundred Girl Powered workshops that took place around the world the week of Oct. 6-15, 2017, coinciding with the United Nation’s International Day of the Girl. This global initiative was created through a partnership between the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation and VEX Robotics, who are working to redefine the face of STEM and make robotics reflective of the world we live in.
Two students who took part in the workshop attended Tuesday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting and shared their experiences with the Board of Trustees. Kaydee Brown from Superior Heights Intermediate and Madison Ingram from Central Algoma Intermediate both shared they were very glad to have been able to attend the workshop.
The Girl Powered workshops were created to show girls how exciting it is to be involved with STEM, showcasing examples of how women are changing the world, providing tools for success, and creating a comfortable environment where all students’ confidence and abilities can flourish.
The ADSB Girl Powered workshop brought together 45 Grade 7 and 8 girls from CASS, Korah, Superior Heights and White Pines. The event featured several women from the local STEM community including mentors Karen Milton from the Ontario Lotto Gaming Corporation, Doctor Laura Stone, Bhavna Sikka from Tenaris and Melissa Kargiannakis a tech entrepreneur. These women shared their experiences and worked with the students during the various activities. The young girls spent their day building and programming robots, and worked on protecting dropped eggs during an innovation design challenge.
“We’re excited to support the REC Foundation and VEX Robotics by hosting a Girl Powered workshop. We fully back the intent of this initiative, which is designed to engage more young women in STEM at an early age to ensure that our robotics programs attract as many students interested in STEM as possible,” said Jenna Caputo, a teacher with the ADSB and host of the workshop.
“As a robotics coach/mentor, I see firsthand the knowledge and confidence students gain by participating in competitive robotics programs like VEX Competitions, even over the course of just one season. The Girl Powered initiative will help reach many more young women who might not have thought they would be accepted in robotics.”
What does it mean to be Girl Powered? It means supporting your teammates to try new things and reach outside their comfort zone; breaking down common societal barriers that exist for many girls at an early age, and working to create a more inclusive environment for all students.