After-school program at LMM encourages young women explore fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
[Newark, NJ – May 13, 2016] – The Luis Muñoz Marin School for Social Justice (LMM), in partnership with the Liberty Science Center (LSC) and the Prudential Foundation, hosted its second annual “Girls in Technology” project showcase on Thursday. Family members, school leaders, students, educators and Prudential technology professionals were in attendance to see the projects the young women of LMM’s Girls in Technology program completed this year.
“The Girls in Technology showcase demonstrated the exceptional work that our students at Luis Muñoz Marin completed this year,” said Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf of NPS. “It’s vital that our students, and especially our female students, are inspired to pursue opportunities in the STEM fields early on in their academic careers so that they can be college and career ready. Girls in Technology is an excellent example of a successful program that allows young women to engage in subjects they are interested in and apply their lessons in real-life scenarios.”
Girls in Technology is an after-school program that was designed to expose more young women and minorities to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Twenty-five students participated in the program this year and learned about application software, used robots to explore computer programming and developed their own video game.
“Girls in Technology has been a huge success in its first two years of operation,” said Paul Hoffman, President and CEO of Liberty Science Center. “The young women of Luis Muñoz Marin are our future explorers, scientists, and innovators. Liberty Science Center is proud to provide them with hands-on educational programs designed to show them how truly exciting the world of technology can be.”
Girls in Technology is led by two female role models who are active in the STEM fields, Katie Gardner and Christina Lee. Ms. Gardner is a STEM educator with a background in instructional technology, while Ms. Lee is an electrical engineer and computer scientist. A recent survey of Girls in Technology participants found that 90 percent of their students expressed an interest in continuing to explore the STEM fields and learn more about computer programming. Their example will inspire more young women to become engineers, computer scientists and software developers in the future.
“The reality is that we do not see as many female leaders, especially women of color, in the engineering and technology fields. This program allows young women to become familiar with technology, coding and computer software so that they can pursue career paths available to them based on their interests in this field,” said Katie Gardner, Teacher Programs Developer at Liberty Science Center and program instructor. “Having female mentors helped me so much as I pursued my career in the STEM fields, and I hope that my work with Girls in Technology will help some of my students see that they can do whatever they want if they set their minds to it.”
Latita McReynolds, a fifth grade teacher at Luis Muñoz Marin who works with LSC to recruit students into the program, noticed the impact the program has had on her students. “It has been wonderful to see the growth our young ladies at Luis Muñoz Marin have had while participating in the Girls in Technology program,” said Ms. McReynolds. “Their growth is evident in the work they displayed to their peers, instructors and school leaders at the showcase, and I look forward to seeing what our students will accomplish next year.”
Girls in Technology was developed in 2014 by educators at LSC in partnership with LMM to expose more young women and minorities to STEM education programs with a focus on technologies. It is supported by a generous grant from Prudential Foundation.