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WITI NextGen: ‘Women in Technology’ Encourages Girls to Pursue Science & Technology

Filed under: All Things Tech, Education - BookRenter Team
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By BookRenter Senior Web Engineer, Corinne Reitter
Corinne has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a minor in Psychology. She grew up and attended school in Canada but has lived in the US long enough to lose most of her Canadian accent. When Corinne isn’t working, she’s either traveling the world, training for her next marathon or triathlon, or just hanging out. She thinks more girls should be web engineers, as it’s really a natural fit.

As one of the only few women in our Engineering team here at BookRenter, I often wonder why there aren’t more of us.  And so for the past two years, I’ve been given the opportunity to host a mini conference at a much larger Women In Technology International Conference which occurs every October.  This mini conference, WITI NextGen, is targeted to girls between the ages of 12 and 17 who have some interest in Science and Technology.  I bring in speakers from various fields who spend 15 minutes giving a presentation about what they love about their career, how they got there and what is that they actually do. Last year it was more science oriented and this year it was more tech.  Whatever the case, the girls who attend seem to get a lot of it.

This year, the unguided focus landed on learning.  And not just learning for the sake of career direction, but learning for the sake of learning.  It even inspired me to take up some classes and I’m attending college again for the first time in over 10 years.  My presenters range from the incredibly geeky in their field to the most abstract how-did-I-get-here types. They all shared what worked in their lives, what didn’t, and how they coped with self-doubt and perseverance. What really works is these girls can relate.  Often I’m told how amazing it is that particular speakers remind the girls of themselves and this shows they can too have a career in science and technology.  After each speaker has given their presentation, the girls are given the opportunity to ask questions.  More often than not (possibly out of being too shy), the girls wrap around the speakers after the main event is done. Questions get answered. Emails are exchanged. And the possibility of new mentorships is in the making.

Why are there not more girls in technology fields? There seems to be an interest for it. I don’t think it’s because we don’t think we’re smart nor driven enough.  But maybe it’s because we set the bar so high, we don’t think we can actually reach it ourselves.

Wanna see the speakers from our 2011 summit? Check them out by clicking here.   (Included is another one of our very own BookRenter Data Detectives!)

Interested in attending next year? Keep an eye on this link: www.witi.com/summit for updates.

If you are in a technology field, I’d like to hear why you chose it. If you aren’t and you wanted to be at one time, why did you decide to not join this elite group? Comment below!

(Pictured above are some of the girls who attended our WITI Summit in 2011.)

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