AAUW and Verizon Foundation Join Forces to Teach Girls about App Invention

May 29, 2014

This summer AAUW and the Verizon Foundation are set to launch an initiative to teach girls about apps at AAUW’s weeklong science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) summer camps for rising eighth-grade girls.

Tech TrekVerizonsquare camps at the University of California, Santa Barbara; Southwestern Oklahoma State University; and the University of Alabama, Huntsville, will pilot an apps course, which was developed by MIT and will be implemented thanks to an $84,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation.

The new course will teach camp attendees computer program coding. Using existing phone app templates, the girls can add their own spin on the apps, making them relevant to their lives. Girls will learn the basics of app invention and how apps are used on mobile phones and tablets. MIT will train Tech Trek instructors how to teach the course and provide assistance during the camps to ensure flawless implementation.

“With this new course, girls will have access to a high-quality learning experience developed by one of the world’s best research universities,” said AAUW CEO Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “The campers will be able to see themselves as innovators and problem solvers. … It’s yet another opportunity for them to explore STEM in cool and creative ways, and we’re grateful to the Verizon Foundation for making it possible.”

Apply to Host a 2015 Tech Trek Near You

Oklahoma Tech Trek 2014
In response to the great demand
for STEM programs, AAUW is expanding the successful
Tech Trek camp for girls.

Deadline: September 1, 2014

AAUW’s 2010 report Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics provides compelling evidence that environmental and social barriers continue to limit women’s participation and progress in these fields. Yet the need for more women in these fields goes beyond simply offering women and girls equal opportunities.

Across the globe, women are underrepresented in STEM careers. They hold nearly half of all jobs in the United States but fewer than 25 percent of STEM jobs. Coupled with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s prediction that jobs requiring a STEM background will grow by 17 percent over the next 10 years and the growing shortage of U.S. STEM workers, it’s clear that women are an untapped resource when it comes to economic and innovative progress.

“We are focused on inspiring more students to pursue STEM, especially girls and students from underserved communities, who remain underrepresented in these promising fields,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, the director of education and technology programs for the Verizon Foundation. “Through our work with Verizon Innovative App Challenge, we have observed mobile technology to be a powerful tool for student engagement in these subjects. For this reason, we are delighted to support the AAUW Tech Trek program by providing app development training.”

The White House announced the initiative at its annual science fair earlier this week. Tech Trek camps have a proven track record for promoting STEM to girls. More than 90 percent of girls who attended the camps reported that Tech Trek boosted their confidence in their ability to be successful in science classes, and 78 percent said the same for math classes.

Watch what happens at Tech Trek:

By:   |   May 29, 2014