Women & Technology


Girls Who Build

Creative engineering workshops for high school girls

Team Lead

Kristen Railey

Katie Rae

In response to Why our solution is human-centered:

Any plans to expand curriculum to younger groups of girls too?

How do you source your participants?

Kristen Railey

Dear Katie,

I source my participants from local high schools with help from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Outreach office (https://ll.mit.edu/outreach/) and MIT Edgerton Center. Both organizations have large email distribution lists of parents, teachers, and students across the state. I also advertise through social media (Facebook, twitter); and directly contact PTAs, FIRST robotics teams, and Girls Who Code clubs. The typical demographic of the girls includes 10-15 different high schools, 50% have coding experience, and 10% have hardware experience. I usually have a waitlist of 20-30 students.

The locally run workshops are for high school girls for three reasons: they have had some experience taking higher-level math and physics, they are exploring their options for college and future careers, and most importantly, it is the age when girls start to lose interest in math and science (https://ll.mit.edu/outreach/) Despite my focus on high school girls for the local programs, the online curriculums can be used and modified for younger students. I've already had other organizations take the GWB curriculum and tailor it to their own program and audience (ie. Latinas in STEM, Project Lead the Way).

Katie Rae

In response to How we will measure our progress:

Would be great if you included a metric to evaluate further interest - repeat participation, or decision to enroll in step program, etc.

Indra Nooyi

In response to How we will measure our progress:

Would like to see an outcome that measures the outcome of the site visits/downloads, such as intent to further pursue a STEM career, repeat visits to the site, etc.

Kristen Railey

Dear Indra and Katie,
Thank you for this comment on measuring the effectiveness of our program. In our locally run programs, we invite SWE, all-girls first robotics team coaches, and the MIT Women in Technology Program to recruit our students to their more in-depth programs (Their presentations: https://ocw.mit.edu/resources/res-2-006-girls-who-build-cameras-summer-2016/applications-of-camera-technology/).

To build on this, I propose an outcome that Girls Who Build participants pursue an in-depth STEM program that we advertise (like the MIT Women in Technology Program), and measure this by how many end up applying. At our last workshop, several applied to the MIT WTP program and cited Girls Who Build as the source of their inspiration.

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