Earlier this month, Colorado Technology Association hosted an event to give high school girls from across the Front Range an opportunity to have hands-on experience with technology, explore career opportunities and more. In partnership with AT&T, Digital Globe, the United States Patent and Trademark Office and 15 community and industry partners, SheTech Explorer Day Colorado hosted nearly 60 high school students.
SheTech Explorer Day was originally held at Utah Valley University four years ago. Since then, the Utah event has grown to host 1,200 high school girls with nearly 40 company partners having interactive booths for the girls to engage with. In addition to the conference, SheTech in Utah offers other resources by helping participants find high school and college courses that match their interests, secure valuable internships, learn about available scholarships and gain access to industry mentors.
At the day-long event, students participated in nine unique hands-on, industry-led activities and two educational workshops which focused on solar energy, coding, augmented and virtual reality, circuitry, satellite imagery, computer hardware and more. The event wrapped up with a “TechChallenge” created by Zayo, where girls split up into groups of eight to design a locally sustainable food system. Then, the teams pitched their ideas to a panel of judges, and members of the winning team each received a technology prize and the opportunity to attend CTA’s Women in Technology Conference the following day.
Given the tech talent shortage not just in Denver, but across the country, it’s never been more important to encourage young women to pursue careers in the technology industry. Creighton O’Neal, vice president of client service in Denver, said, “The opportunities in technology are tremendous. The earlier we can get girls involved in technology, the better, and there will be better chances of them wanting to pursue careers in technology later in life.” O’Neal also highlighted additional ongoing efforts in Denver to get high school students interested in technology, including the opening of more STEM high schools and organizations like CareerConnect through Denver Public School that provide excellent opportunities for tech-minded students.