Today, the White House hosted â€œGirls and Gigabytes,â€ anevent bringing together 150 middle and high school-aged girls from across 15 states fora day of mentoring, panels, and workshops on STEM topics. As part of initiatives surrounding Black History Month, the event aimed to inspire African American girls, and make clear that they have access to educational opportunities and careers in STEM.
After hearing from a panel of African American women in STEM, moderated by comedian and talk show host from The Real, Loni Love, the girls had the chance to experience different aspects of technology. This included workshops on coding, virtual reality, gaming, building and operating robots, and more. Take a look:
The day concluded with an interactive conversation with Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, and Lisa Gelobter, The White House/Chief Digital Service Officer at the U.S. Department of Education. Both women shared stories about their journeysinto STEM,and encouragedgirls to try and make an impact on the world through science and technology. They also explained to attendees that having skills in computer science and other STEM fieldscan be brought to any fieldgirls are passionate about from music to sports to education.
The â€œGirls and Gigabytesâ€ event is just one of the many ways the Obama Administration has been working to expand STEM education and employment opportunities to all students. From early in his Administration, President Obama has made improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education a priorityâ€”he believes that every American student deserves access to a high-quality education in STEM for both their future and for the Nationâ€™s future.
â€œOne of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. Weâ€™ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that weâ€™ve got a whole bunch of talentâ€¦not being encouraged the way they need to.â€ — President Barack Obama, February 2013
Kalisha Dessources is Policy Advisor to the White House Council on Women and Girls