Whirlpool and Lake Michigan College host Girls Rock IT event to encourage girls to enter STEM fields

NOW: Whirlpool and Lake Michigan College host Girls Rock IT event to encourage girls to enter STEM fields

BENTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- As part of Women's History Month, the Michigan Council on Women and Technology, the Whirlpool Corporation and Lake Michigan College are working to inspire the next generation of women in STEM.

This Saturday, forty-four local girls will get some practical experience learning computer code and designing their own apps at the Girls Rock IT event.

The event was born from a desire to bring more aspiring young women into the STEM-- science, technology, engineering and medical-- fields, as they are under-represented in the science and tech industries, making up just one third of that workforce.

The hope is to inspire these girls at a young age and to help them learn about the exciting opportunities and possibilities that will be open to them, particularly in the computer sciences and tech industries.

Whirlpool's Global Head of Enterprise Architecture, Pamela Wise-Martinez, said that by giving them this experience and showing them that there are role models just like them in these fields-- it will only help to encourage the next generation of women in STEM.

"In the tech arena, it's a tough road, it's a lot of work, but it's so rewarding," said Wise-Martinez. "And just like I'm doing today-- and I'm hoping they do the same thing-- is pass it on, and later be the role models and leaders in the tech field and IT jobs."

The event focuses on girls between the fourth and eighth grades.

The girls in fourth and fifth grade will get hands-on experience learning computer coding and programming basics using MIT's Scratch program, and the girls in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades will have the chance to learn how to create their own app using MIT's App Inventor program.

Whirlpool's CIO Dani Brown will also address the girls.

Parents will have the opportunity to take a course to learn more about internet safety and careers in the tech field.

Registration for the event is currently closed.

While organizers were hoping for even more girls to register, they say that having any of them show up will be a big win.

Wise-Martinez said "We had the scope of about sixty, and we were able to get forty-four girls, which we thought was great. And I tell you, even if we had ten, we would be thrilled, because it's one at a time, you know, one step at a time, and so we're really excited about the forty-four that signed up, and we're hoping that on Saturday that they'll show up and be inspired."

While it may be too late to register for this event, Wise-Martinez added that there will be more, similarly focused events in the future.

More information on those events and programs can be found here.

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