Women's Foundation of CO wants more female technophiles

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Hoping to encourage more young women to venture into the male-dominated world of technology-based business, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado hosted more than 200 young women in a workshop featuring a variety of tech-based career possibilities.

Entitled “Girls 2.0 – Girls and Technology,” the sessions featured area women working in the technology sector sharing their opinions and expertise with students in grades seven through 10. In a program prior to the start of the workshops, entrepreneur Taa Dixon, a founder of 720Media, made an encore appearance as featured speaker.

“Girls tend to do better in math and science then their male counterparts, but they are rarely encouraged to pursue a career in the field of technology,” said Kappy Stewart, Colorado Springs regional director of the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. “The Girls 2.0 workshop will allow these young women to interact with other females representing a variety of interesting and compelling professions.”

Stewart said the foundation wants them “to understand that a life in high-tech does not mean an isolated and sterile working environment – rather it is fulfilling, both financially and personally.”

The workshops were: global positioning systems, technology in sports, architecture, introduction to chips and electronic design automation, Lego robotics, forensic nursing, web page design, high-tech (and high paying) careers for non-technical people, inside personal computers, and film making and technology.

Timberview Middle School eighth-grader Laurie Hollm is interested in becoming an architect.

She attended a session by architect Margaret Gilbert, with RTA Architects. She told those attending her seminar that architecture is a great career for anyone.

“I learned about some of the things I need to think about to be an architect,” said Hollm.

Another Timberview eighth-grader, Olivia Bishop, enjoyed Lisa Skinner’s workshop on how the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency tracks athletes to test for banned substances. Skinner is manager of database development for the Colorado Springs-based U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

“I like finding out what kind of stuff is important in making inventions and what makes things work,” Bishop said of her day of workshops.

Lego Robotics provided potential future engineers with an opportunity to assemble and program a robot based on the popular children’s toy Legos. DeLene Hoffner, District 20 science leadership chairperson and teacher facilitated the workshop.

Another eighth-grade student, who said she didn’t want her name used, attended a workshop on crime scene investigation by Virginia Lynch, director of forensic nursing and forensic health science at the Bethel College of Nursing.

“I love CSI (the popular television program about forensic investigators in Las Vegas) and it (crime scene investigation) is cool,” she said. “I would like to work in Las Vegas just like the program.”

In her talk, 720Media’s Taa Dixon encouraged the young women to spend time working on things at which they already excel. She told them her own three concepts to success: first, she said, is “be creative.” “Take risks,” she said, and “focus on building your strength.”

Workshop organizers said Dixon was invited back to talk again this year because she made such a good impression on students last year.

Other workshop presenters were: Catherine Childers, associate engineer, SI International; Karen Bartleson, Synopsys, Inc.; Cynthia Calongne, Colorado Technical University; Paula Hebert, FedEx Services Corp.; Judy Cara, Intel; Barrie Goettsche, Sun Microsystems; Shari Meisel, DeVry University; Michelle Homes, FedEx Corp.; Aurora Perkins, Girl Scouts; and Ginger Kathrens, Taurus Productions, Inc.

Workshop co-chairs were Renita Wolfe, Pat Richardson and Jennifer Barber.

The career workshops were held at Colorado Technical University.