Provided by AWS
According to the Pew Research Center, women represent a quarter or less of workers in computing and engineering. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Girls’ Tech Day is helping to change that.
On Saturday, Oct. 1, AWS brought together more than 300 girls and young women from Prince William County and across the DMV, to inspire and motivate them to pursue interests in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM). Girls’ Tech Day is a free, half-day learning event that focuses on each of the STEAM areas with activities designed to educate, inspire, and to be enjoyed. The program showcased a wide range of tech careers and introduce participants to female tech trailblazers who shared their career journeys.
“On behalf of AWS, we’re proud to be able to help drive greater access to STEM education, particularly, supporting efforts to expose young girls to technology,” said Diya Wynn, Senior Practice Manager for Responsible AI, AWS. “Exposure to STEM education at a young age can be pivotal. I was exposed to tech when I was in the 3rd grade, and it was that experience that inspired me to choose a career in this field.”
AWS partnered with local schools to engage more the more than 300 middle school, high school, and college students across Prince William County and the DMV. Girls excitedly participated in interactive workshops that included experiencing using machine learning to program a microcontroller to “teach a machine” to sort cereal from marshmallows and experiencing what it is like to be a forensic scientist and crime scene investigator by collecting and processing evidence from a mock crime scene. Girls also heard from panelists that included Deshauna Barber, 2016 Miss USA, IT Analyst & Army Reserve Officer, and Mental & Physical Health Advocate; Sarah Goolishian, documentary photographer and filmmaker; James Mitchell, Performance Analyst, Washington Spirits; and several women leaders within AWS.
AWS Girls’ Tech Day is part of a collection of activities AWS is spearheading to support STEAM education in Virginia. In 2019 Prince William County opened the world’s first AWS Think Big Space, an educational lab that provides students, educators, and communities with hands-on technical education and cloud computing training. AWS has now funded 38 spaces globally, including at Wakefield High School in Arlington County. A new space is underway for Loudoun County, slated to open in the fall, which will also serve as an educational training hub for teachers in Northern Virginia.
“AWS wants to inspire and support students and young women in the communities where we have presence. We’re proud to call Virginia home, and we’re excited to host this event here in Prince William County, building on our ongoing efforts to bring STEAM education opportunities to young learners,” added Wynn.
Girls’ Tech Day was launched in 2018 in Virginia, and since then, it has hosted in-person and virtual events in cities across the globe, reaching nearly 7,000 girls and young women aged 8-24, to inspire and motivate them to develop and pursue interests and careers in technology.