Last Saturday I had the pleasure of volunteering at “Girls Do Hack” at Chicago’s Alder Planeterium. This was the first time the planetarium held the all day event, which was created to help expose high school age girls to fields in STEM and empower those involved to share their STEM expertise.
The girls began their day with keynote speaker Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder of Femgineer (which you can watch below). Femgineer is a start-up aimed at promoting women in the fields of STEM. She gave a very inspirational speech before groups divided for the day.
Each group had 4 young women and 2 mentors and they selected a variety of workshops and activities to attend within the planetarium. The workshops and activities were developed by Adler Planetarium staff and partner organizations to reflect a cross-section of STEM careers. Some on the workshops and activities included: a 3D printing experience, a mobile phone app lab (the girls could learn how to create their own phone apps), circuit monster workshop (the girls mixed chemicals and created electrical circuits to look like a “monster”), and a lock picking class (the girls learned about the world of physical security).
After all the workshops the girls then got the chance to stand before the other groups and tell the most memorable parts of their day as well as what they took away from the experience.
All in all, we need more events like this for our young women. It was so inspirational to see these young women doing STEM activities and having fun with it. This type of event allows young women to learn more about the STEM world, but it also shows them that there are women like them doing STEM in real life. So what are we waiting for! Let’s get out there and show these girls its real!!