Recently, a group of our middle school girls took a virtual field trip with Google. Kerrie Hogan, a board member of Girls Inc. of Alameda County and Director of Partnerships at Google reflected on the event, stating “Google loves hosting Girls Inc. of Alameda County field trips. I was impressed how the staff did not skip a beat in the transition to making these events virtual.”
In preparation for the Google Health virtual field trip, girls were mailed kits to build a fully functional 4WD climbing vehicle. During this online event, an all-female engineering team from Google walked the girls through building the vehicles, discussing the design of the vehicle and how it could be used to solve problems. Exposing girls to these kinds of STEAM activities gives them intellectual activities to explore, promotes sustained and increased interest in STEAM subjects, and gives girls opportunities to build their self-confidence. Opportunities to engage in topics like these, allow our girls to explore new interests for themselves. For example, 97% of 8th graders stated that because of Girls Inc. STEAM programming, they realized how much they like to use technology to design things.
During an “AMA” (ask me anything) session with several female engineers at Google Health, the girls’ asked questions about college, careers, and goals for the future. They were intrigued to hear that one of the women was on the team that built the heart rate monitor on the Apple watch.
Kerrie Hogan discussed the volunteers’ enthusiasm for the event, particularly the “opportunity to pass on their passion for STEAM, talk about the diversity of roles in the tech industry, and engage in their community.” Exposing girls to a variety of career options, specifically in traditionally male-dominated fields, is a key component of the Girls Inc. experience. When girls meet women in STEAM careers who are supportive and engaging, they start to realize the possibilities for themselves and build toward that future.