And What We Do
Collegiate Pathways, Inc. (CPI) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Orlando, FL. CPI’s mission is to empower underrepresented middle and high school girls to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields through college preparation, career readiness, and mentoring.
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Presented by Oracle Academy Event Provides Opportunity to Learn About STEM Careers,Hands-On Demos, Engineering Design Challenges and Networking with Women Tech Leaders
(Orlando, Fla.) – Tech Sassy Girlz, the signature outreach program of Collegiate Pathways, Inc., (CPI) is hosting its fifth annual conference, geared to middle and high school girls, on Saturday, October 22nd at the College of Engineering & Computer Science at the University of Central Florida (UCF). Presented by Oracle Academy, the one-day event will provide hands-on fun demonstrations, engineering design challenges, a UCF campus tour, as well as the chance to network with women technology business leaders to learn more about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). It also includes a special session geared specifically for parents.
According to national research, in 2018, 8 million STEM jobs will be available in the United States, but the vast majority of U.S. students will be unprepared to fill them. 51 percent of all STEM jobs are projected to be in computer science-related fields. The Federal government alone needs an additional 10,000 IT and cybersecurity professionals, and the private sector need many more. STEM fields are at the core of the nation’s innovation. “Tech Sassy Girlz was created to stop the statistic that every 26 seconds a student drops out of high school. For years, my dream was to change this and develop a pipeline for future women leaders in STEM,” says Laine Powell, M.Ed., MSM, CPI Founder. “My friends finally got tired of hearing me talk about my dream and pushed me to do something about it. Thus, I founded Collegiate Pathways in 2012, and the rest is history. Our programs are sparking interest in young girls that will open doors and expand their vision. We are cultivating innovators, makers and pioneers of the future.”
In September, Tech Sassy Girlz became an official partner of the White House initiative Computer Science for All (CSfor4All). Its goal is to empower all students from kindergarten through high school to learn computer science (CS) which is being widely recognized as a “new basic” skill necessary for increased economic opportunity and social mobility.
“Computer science and data science are not only important for the tech sector, but also for a growing number of industries, including transportation, healthcare, education, and financial services, that are using software to transform their products and services. In fact, more than two-thirds of all tech jobs are outside the tech sector,” says Powell. “It gives students opportunities to be producers, not just consumers, in the digital economy, and to be active citizens in our technology-driven world,” she adds.
In 2015, research showed that only 22 percent of students taking the Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science exam were girls, and only 13 percent were African-American or Latino students. These statistics mirror the current makeup of some of America’s largest and more innovative tech firms, where women comprise less than one-third of their technical employees, and African-Americans less than 3 percent.
CS can help foster computational thinking skills that are relevant to many disciplines and careers, such as breaking a large problem into smaller ones, recognizing how new problems relate to ones that have already been solved, setting aside details of a problem that are less important, and identifying and refining the steps needed to reach a solution. Conferences and events that foster STEM by providing access to mentors and immersion are helping to inspire young girls. CPI’s Tech Sassy Girlz program empowers and encourages underrepresented middle and high school girls to pursue STEM fields through college preparation, career readiness, and mentoring.
Featured conference speakers include:Girlz Session
Tech Sassy Girlz had the chance to sleep under the stars (or rather a rocket) that was designed to fly to the moon at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This one-of-a-kind Overnight Adventure program, designed for middle school youth, provided the opportunity for the Tech Sassy Girlz to participate. In August, they had the chance to enjoy the thrilling experience of the Space Shuttle AtlantisSM attraction and enjoy guided tours, simulators and shows, educational activities and demonstrations, as well as a special presentation and “mission briefing” from a veteran NASA astronaut! They enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner and late night snack just before unrolling in their sleeping bags to drift off to sleep beneath the majestic Saturn V Moon rocket! The next morning, they enjoyed a continental breakfast before setting off to explore more of the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
On June 18-19, 2016, six girls from Central Florida were invited to attend the 2nd Annual National Maker Faire held in Washington, D.C. , as part of the Tech Sassy Girlz program. This event kicked off the “Week of Making” (June 17-23), giving curious, inventive people a place to share what they love to make. The girls had the opportunity to interact with such technologies as Raspberry Pi, Arduino, electronics, and 3D printers as well as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) projects, textiles, crafting activities, homemade robots, and more. The national event was a chance to bring together makers, inventors and tinkerers of all ages.
Tech Sassy Girlz had the chance to showcase apps/games they developed as part of Orlando Tech Week on Saturday, April 23, 2016. Orlando Tech Week is a week-long showcase of the technology, creativity and entrepreneurial hustle powering the future of Orlando. During the annual Tech Sassy Girlz Hackathon – powered by Best Buy, the featured game was Trivia Friends. Tech Sassy Girlz participants worked collaboratively to create and code online games during the event. Middle and high school girls worked in teams alongside professional volunteer coders and graphic designers to solve a problem within their respective communities. First and second place team winners received scholarships to the Yes! Girls Code Camp to finalize their product and other prizes. The interactive web-based STEM games focused on creating supportive environments for women in technology and education.
During the summer, as part of the Tech Sassy Girlz College preparation, girls participated in a chance to visit and explore the campuses of Georgetown University and Howard University. While there they had a chance to learn more about STEM careers and the academic path and collegiate resources available to achieve success.
For more information and the chance to see some of our exciting photos from these events, please visit the Photo Gallery.
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