SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – With traditional education disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for innovative solutions for real world challenges, the Women Tech Council takes its annual SheTech summit in a live virtual format for the first time ever.
If you’re wondering what SheTech is all about, it’s program focused on engaging high school girls into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.
The Women Tech council has found that the young women need role models, mentors, and most importantly hands-on experience on a consistent basis. Thursday’s virtual summit provided a space for high school girls to discover the opportunities and possibilities STEM careers offer.
Related: What’s next for high school seniors?
Cydni Tetro, President of the The Women Tech Council, told ABC4.com a key factor in shifting this event to a virtual platform where normally it’s held in a local open to the public event center was the girls wanted a “live” element to engage with women innovators and inspiring role models.
“Everyone during the hours of 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. were able to be apart of the live streamed event and interact with panel discussion leaders” said Tetro.
Over the last seven years, the SheTech program has activated more than 15,000 Utah girls to pursue STEM fields. Thursday’s virtual summit saw roughly 1,500 girls from schools throughout the state of Utah. The live stream was available for anyone who wanted to view. During the 2-hour summit the young women broke off in small groups to solve various technology challenges administered by industry mentors.
“There’s a whole program that we’re orchestrating for all the girls,” added Tetro.
The high school girls got the opportunity to hear from inspiring women making a difference in Utah. One who most of us have heard a lot from lately, Dr. Angela Dunn, State of Utah epidemiologist.
There were also live STEM workshops by Adobe and Vivint Smart Home teaching technology experiences to create and innovate.
“We really wanted to show the girls how you creatively brainstorm an idea, and then that leads you to technology solutions, so when they worked with industry leaders today, they were solving real world problems.”
The closing celebration saw recognition of seniors in the SheTech program, TechChallenge winners, as well as the unveiling of the new student-developed SheTech Tik Tok which includes this year’s SheTech theme song and Tik Tok dance to go along with it.
This year’s SheTech summit showed the high school girls not to let obstacles get in their way while pursuing their careers in STEM. While the pandemic has slowed down many of our daily activities, it’s clear COVID-19 wasn’t going to stop the Women Tech Council from holding the event and they were able to do it safely, socially distanced and obeying all state and health official regulations.
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