Last week, Microsoft co-hosted a fun-filled day of all things tech for African American girls. The event was held in conjunction with Girl STEM Stars,Â a nonprofit academy dedicated to advancing young people of color in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education.
The girls gathered in Mountain View, California–in the heart of Silicon Valley. Speakers from Microsoft and NASA were on hand to talk about what it’s like working in technology.
The girls also receivedÂ hands-on STEM lessons. They participated in a coding class, tested drones, and got an up-and-close look at cutting-edge technology.
Katherine Nurss, Microsoft Bing/event organizer said, “We’re giving them an opportunity to learn about and get exposure to data science and coding, and also to speak with people who work at Microsoft.â€
However, the No. 1 takeaway from this day is to show the girls that “this is all accessibleâ€ to them as career options, said Nurss.
“Young girls need to know that they can do anything,â€ said Leticha Hawkins, a mother of one of the girls. “And that any area of occupation should be open to them. A lot of times you’ll hear girls say I’m not good at math, I’m not good at a certain type of subject and they should understand that there is always help. And this organization is one of the vehicles to learn there are people out there who want to encourage them and assist them in their journey.â€
“You don’t have to become a scientist or become an engineer in the traditional sense and I sort of wanted to tell them that you can redefine what an engineer is,â€ said software development engineer, Adebia Ntoso.
“My goal is to encourage you to never give up,â€ Antoinette McCoy, associate chief, Technology Partnerships Office at NASA Ames Research Center, told the young women. “No matter what the circumstance is, no matter what you think are your limitations, never give up.â€