FWhile the next series of NH Girls Technology Day (GTD) events are cancelled due to the coronavirus, its mission is alive and well.
“GTD is important because it allows 8 to 10th grade girls, who otherwise may not have the opportunity, to participate in a variety of applied STEM learning experiences,” said Nicole Bellabona, Consultant for the NH Department of Education’s Bureau of Career Development.
Noting GTD introduces these students to pathways in computing, science, engineering and applied mathematics, Bellabona said it also highlights “the diversity of educational programming available in NH’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) centers.
“CTE offers coursework that ranges from Culinary Arts to Computer Programming and Animal Science,” she said. “This learning is often project-based and hands-on in nature. It’s an exciting way to learn.
Bellabona said GTD events now also include middle school girls as a means to inspire them to learn more about the various pathways. She credited sponsors, such as Red River Charitable Foundation, Hypertherm Hope Foundation and Hinton Technical Services as instrumental in this continued growth.
“Sponsors and industry and educational partners are essential,” she added. “CCSNH and USNH have also offered space, instructors and resources to support these efforts,” she said.
At the now canceled March 18 event at NHTI—Concord’s Community College, Bellabona said more than a dozen workshops would have taken center stage. These workshops were to include:
- Meteorology with Hinton Technical Services & ECM Global
- Design and Build Structures with NHTI
- Java to code with Oracle
- Micro:bits with Liberty Mutual
- Chemical Labs with Portsmouth Naval Shipyard
- Titanic Historical Data Science with LoisLabs
- Clean Oceans with Keene State College
- Comcast Cool Tech Tools
- Clean Groundwater with GZA
- Ice Storm Experiment with USDA Forest Service
- Developing your Smart Home with Raspberry Pi with Dell
- FIRST Robotics
- Inventing with the Young Inventors Program
- SilverTech’s User Challenge
This year’s keynote speaker was Caleigh MacPherson, a NH engineer named NH Tech Woman of the year in 2019, who Bellabona described as “early in her professional career.”
“GTD has grown in demand,” she said. “40 schools would have sent students to events this school year and over 700 girls would have benefited from attending one of these events this year.”
In looking ahead (past the coronavirus), Bellabona said they may expand GTD to include all students.
“GTD has grown in demand,” she said. “40 schools sent students to events this school year and we anticipate 700 girls will benefit from one of these events this year.”
She hopes more schools get involved, too.
“Encourage your school to participate in future events,” she said. “We need more sponsors to grow, too. This type of supplemental experiential learning opportunity is invaluable to learners exploring their interests. It’s important students hear from professionals working in STEM about the development of their careers.”