Girls Inc. and YWCA Open Eyes to Science and Tech Career Options

Apr 7, 2014

Syracuse University Adjunct Art Professor Andrea Buckvold shares experiement with students at Career Summit.
Syracuse University Adjunct Art Professor Andrea Buckvold shares experiement with students at Career Summit.
Credit Hannah Warren/WAER News

We’ve all been asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”  Over the weekend, middle- and high-school aged girls got the chance to explore their options. The Girls Summit Career Conference, which is organized through the YWCA, took over the Hillside Agency Center on Salt Springs Road to shine some light on career possibilities that girls may never have considered for their own futures.

Adele Ryan is a program coordinator for the YWCA.  She said the conference helps to bust stereotypes about women’s careers:

"We have a bigger amount of girls than we expected to have.  I think it’s beautiful that these organizations and schools are getting involved and realizing that we have a voice.  Girls are not just supposed to be nurses and teachers and cooks.  We have opportunities to go into science and technology, math and dance, all these different things.  We just hope the girls know that they do have the chance to be strong, smart and bold.”

That slogan “Strong, Smart and Bold” is a cheer of sorts from Girls Inc., and it fit in perfectly with a lot of the STEM role models, from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields, who spoke to the girls.

CAREERS IN ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY

Syracuse University adjunct art professor Andrea Buckvold wanted to help open their eyes to some tech career possibilities they may never have seen a woman doing before:

Andrea Buckvold works with students wiring up the innards of electronic toys to push technology careers for girls.
Andrea Buckvold works with students wiring up the innards of electronic toys to push technology careers for girls.
Credit Hannah Warren/WAER News

"We don’t see images of girls and women in tech fields.  They’re underrepresented in jobs in computer engineering, sound engineering, programming, gaming.  They’re underrepresented as directors and producers and writers, in all kinds of things.  But we’re the primary purchasers, the primary viewers, and we should be the ones controlling that message.” Buckvold said that a lot of girls picture engineering and technology jobs dealing with heavy machinery, and they don’t realize the sheer number of possibilities within the field. So she set up a green screen for girls to film and edit their own short videos, and she cracked open old children’s toys so they could experiment with the computer chips inside.  

Buckvold and the other conference organizers say they hope the conference will engage girls in the fields that are growing and help them set their own limits when it comes to their careers down the road.