Hive Waterloo Region’s HackerGrrlz program pairs girls in grades 4-8 with women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) as mentee and mentor, giving the girls a unique opportunity to learn to code, as well as providing them with positive female role models as they continue their education journey.
By ages as young as eight years old, girls often have developed specific ideas about what engineering or software development means. Often the pictures they form in their minds are of men in hard hats building bridges, or sitting up all night alone at a computer coding. What they don’t see is themselves, or the incredible opportunities that STEM careers can provide, giving them the ability to make a difference in the world. Through the HackerGrrlz program we aim to open girls’ minds about what is possible if they continue to study these fields in high school and beyond.
We also are keen to address the problem of women exiting STEM careers early in their careers. There any many attributable causes for this demonstrated occurrence. HackerGrrlz provides women the opportunity to inspire young girls with their own knowledge, and we hope our mentors are in turn more inspired to stay in STEM work and continue making the field more inclusive for the next generation.
About the Program
In the spring of 2016, we launched the HackerGrrlz program with the support of Libro Credit Union: two six-week pilot sessions in fourteen schools across Waterloo Region, teaching nearly 200 girls.
The program is being further developed based on the learning from the first two pilot sessions, and we are now beginning roll-out of the next phase of the program in schools and public institutions (to stay informed, you can sign up for news here).
Sessions are typically about one hour long, over a number of weeks, with each session building on the last to increase the girls’ knowledge and confidence. Depending on experience, girls may learn to create simple games and stories using drag-and-drop coding programs, or use actual code to create websites or design smartphone apps.
We are happy to work with schools, teachers, parents, and more to customize a program that works for you – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org fill out the form below for more information!
Our mentors are women in the STEM fields who are in the workforce or studying at post-secondary institutions. They work with girls teaching them skills like basic coding, website design, and more. Our mentors provide positive role models in the STEM fields for girls to consider as they continue their educational journey. Project activities are designed to be easy to follow, fun, and engaging. Read mentor Lori Lablonde’s blog post on why she got involved, and the benefits she found from participating.
We are actively seeking sponsors to continue this program. If your organization is interested in supporting HackerGrrlz, please contact us at email@example.com.
If you would like the HackerGrrlz program to come to your school, or if you’re interested in mentoring please use the form below and we’ll be in touch! For any further questions please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.