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MI Girls Encouraged to Become "Digital Divas"

PHOTO: Studies show that many girls lose interest in technology by the time they reach high school, a trend that Eastern Michigan University and its partners in the 4th annual "Digital Divas" conference are working to combat. Photo courtesy of gracey/morguefile.com.
PHOTO: Studies show that many girls lose interest in technology by the time they reach high school, a trend that Eastern Michigan University and its partners in the 4th annual "Digital Divas" conference are working to combat. Photo courtesy of gracey/morguefile.com.
April 22, 2014

YPSILANTI, Mich. - Hundreds of girls from across Michigan will have the chance to try out some hot technology this week in the hopes they see a fit for themselves in a high-tech career. Eastern Michigan University will host the fourth annual "Digital Divas" conference on Friday.

Program manager Bia Hamed says the free one-day event for middle and high school girls aims to help close the gender gap when it comes to careers in science, math, engineering and technology-related fields, often referred to as "STEM."

"They actually get to learn a little bit about pulling a computer apart and putting it back together," Hamed said. "We allow them to do some programming for the day and show them what it's like, that this would open up doors and make them think that could be a career for them."

Hamed says that right now, women account for just 24 percent of STEM jobs.

Attendees will be able to choose from hands-on sessions including cyber security, programming, and even fashion design, while also hearing from prominent women in STEM careers, she said, and added keeping girls interested in technology requires a multi-faceted approach.

It means "connecting educators, corporations, nonprofit organizations, to raise awareness and support young girls and women in STEM education."

500 girls from across the state are expected to attend the conference, with another 300 on the waiting list.

More information is at emich.edu.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI