On August 22, 2019, Women & Hi Tech partnered with Conner Prairie and Indy Women in Tech to host the 3rd annual Ignite Your Superpower (IYS) STEM day on the campus of IUPUI. Around 700 middle school students from central Indiana schools participated in IYS for a day full of fun-filled STEM activities and events featuring more than 30 different corporate, academic, and non-profit exhibitors.
Studies have shown that girls lose interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) as they get older.1 This was a trend that the founders of Women & Hi Tech recognized 20 years ago, which has increasingly mobilized the organization to provide programs, events, and scholarships that cater to K-12 girls.
“Many girls, particularly diverse young ladies, not only receive a message that they aren’t good at math and science, they also do not have an opportunity to see STEM professionals that look like them or with whom they share common experiences. So STEM is never presented in a way that intrigues or inspires them to pursue it,” said Angela B. Freeman, President of Women & Hi Tech.
“This same dilemma is perpetuated in rural communities where there are also limited opportunities, for boys and girls alike, to be exposed to the breadth of STEM careers and female STEM professionals that are available. For many of the attendees, IYS is also the first time they have ever set foot on a college campus or been exposed to what is required to go to college. It’s a very empowering and inspiring day for us all,” Angela noted.
During IYS, groups of students were teamed with one or more of the 50 teachers and chaperones and over 150 volunteer "Superheroes" from the Indianapolis STEM community. These adults led the students through the exhibits and activities, providing the students with time to explore interactive presentations, watch live demos, eat lunch, and work with some of the coolest tools and gadgets available in STEM.
“With our K-12 outreach we are trying to reach every corner of Indiana and make diverse students aware of the opportunities in STEM,” said Amanda McCammon, Women & Hi-Tech’s K-12 Outreach Director. “That means calling on our local STEM community partners to serve as exhibitors and presenters to help us inspire the talent of the future to stay focused and interested in STEM, and ideally to stay in Indiana.”
Ignite Your Superpower is an annual event achieved with the support of a coalition of community partners. Women & Hi Tech is very grateful for all of our friends and allies that continually and loyally support our mission by inspiring the next generation of STEM innovators through programs like IYS.
Pictures from the 2019 event are available online at: https://womenandhitech.org/2019-Ignite-Your-Superpower
For more information about IYS, please contact us at WHTInfo@Womenandhitech.org
About Women & Hi Tech
Women & Hi Tech exists to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all. To achieve our goal, we work to advance, promote, support, recognize, and connect female STEM professionals in our community in Indiana.
1Choney, Suzanne (2018, March 13). Why do girls lose interest in STEM? New research has some answers — and what we can do about it https://news.microsoft.com/features/why-do-girls-lose-interest-in-stem-new-research-has-some-answers-and-what-we-can-do-about-it/