Last week, the University of Nevada, Reno was excited to welcome back Microsoft's DigiGirlz camp at the College of Business. For two days, girls 14- 18-years old were invited to the free event to attend hands-on workshops, listen to keynote speakers, and learn networking skills to give them the confidence to enter into careers of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). This year, more than 90 girls were in attendance.
One of the three daily sessions that participants were able to attend focused on using hands-on activities and math to explore efficient ways to distribute natural disaster aid. The workshop was led by Megan Schiedel, Sarah Gobbs-Hill, and Izzy De La Cruz-Martinez from The Nevada Discovery Museum. During the hour-long session, the attendees were taught what citizens going through a natural disaster need, as well as the opportunity to make their own "relief kits." The girls also learned about the Internet of Things, and how they could connect everyday items to the internet.
Other workshops included learning about cybersecurity and drone technology, being able to create their own coding, and learning about the field of robotics.
At the end of the first day, keynote speaker Kimberly Thomas, dean of students at the University, gave a moving speech. Her goal for her talk was to be the girls' own "personal cheerleader." She wanted to show them that no matter what field these young women wanted to find a career in, that they were more than capable and had a support system behind them. After reading from a short book about the pilot Bessie Coleman, Thomas gave everyone in the room a chance to make their own paper airplanes.
"The sky is not the limit for you," Thomas said, "You can do anything regardless of your race or gender."
Microsoft hoped that by the end of the event, all the young women who attended walked out with confidence that they belong in the world of STEAM, and that they were excited to see what these girls will accomplish after this camp.
"We want them to have the confidence to pursue careers in the STEAM industry and to see all the options available to them" David Taylor, community relations and communications manager at Microsoft Reno, said. "I hope to continue this event to keep inspiring these young women so they know they belong in these careers."