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Pembroke Teachers Hope to Overcome Gender Stereotypes and Encourage Female Students in Technology and Innovation

Pembroke Teachers Hope to Overcome Gender Stereotypes and Encourage Female Students in Technology and Innovation

According to many national studies, the vast majority of computer science jobs are pursued and filled by men, and this trend hasn’t shifted even though jobs in these fields are increasing faster than ever.  The clear disconnect between the computer science industry and the message female students seem to receive about their ability to succeed in tech organizations has Pembroke Community Middle School Teachers, Adam Newall, Camille Connick and Megan Jeffers on a mission. They set their mind to reverse the trend and encourage their students to overcome stereotypes by emphasizing the importance of female presence in science and technology innovation.

As part of their mission, Newall, Connick, and Jeffers partnered with Microsoft and their DigiGirlz Technology Program.  Now in its 10th year, the DigiGirlz Technology program works to inspire girls to explore careers in the technology field. This is the third year that they have taken Pembroke Community Middle School students to the DigiGirlz Day in at the Microsoft headquarters in Cambridge. Over 150 female middle and high school students from throughout Massachusetts attended the 10th Annual DigiGirlz Day on Friday, April 27th.   These are the students who will become the next generation of technology leaders.

During the event, students interact with Microsoft employees and managers to gain exposure to careers in business and technology and get an inside look at what it’s like to work at Microsoft.  By participating in the Microsoft DigiGirlz Day, the ten Pembroke Community Middle School students were able to find out about the variety of opportunities available in the high-tech industry and explore future career paths. They listened to an inspiring presentation from distinguished Microsoft engineer and first female technical fellow, Laura Butler and attended break out session led by other female leaders in the industry.

As a male computer science teacher, Mr. Newall is particularly passionate about empowering his female students to pursue technology and computer studies. He says, “The girls who were asked to go were incredibly excited and came out talking about how they wanted to pursue more STEM classes. I reminded them of all of the opportunities at the middle school and at the high school, both in and after school. It made me really proud to be reminded again that in our district we can give inspiration and direction.”

 

Students at Digi Girls Day      Students at Digi Girls Day   

Group Photo from Digi Girls Day