Kaya Thomas

May 29, 2021 ⋅ 2 min read

Girls4Tech, A STEM Educational Initiative for Girls

When I was in the 7th grade I took a career assessment test. The results said that I would make a good engineer. I went home excited to share the news with my parents. My stepdad, who worked in New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), mentioned that I could be a construction engineer like the ones he works with in his job. That was pretty much the extent of what I knew about engineering for several years. When I got to high school, I developed an interest in environmentalism, so I thought the next logical step was to study environmental engineering. My first year of college, I luckily and randomly, stumbled across computer science and fell in love with programming. I wish there were resources shared with when I was younger about all the expansive topics that are out there for careers in technology and engineering.

Luckily there is a free resource I would like to share with you all that is exactly what I wish I had when I was young. Girls4Tech is the signature STEM program from Mastercard. Now, Girls4Tech has teamed up with Discovery Education to give educators, families and students no-cost STEM curriculum aimed at helping young girls learn and discover topics in data science, cryptology, artificial intelligence and digital tech. They’ve created activities and learning materials that can be downloaded by families or teachers to do with their kids and students. In this new virtual learning environment, you’ll find hands-on activities that can get young girls engaged and knowledgeable about technical topics that will impact all our futures.

One of the things I love most about the G4T activities is how all the learning material is related to real world experiences or issues. The artificial intelligence resource shows how AI can be used to help communities in situations like getting volunteers and supplies to those in need when there’s a storm. The cryptology resource shows how emojis can be a form of encryption! Not only do the activities use understandable examples, but they are also available in nine languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, French, Polish, Malay, Chinese, Portuguese and Hindi. It’s incredibly important that resources like these are accessible to all young girls no matter which language they speak or understand best. I’m glad that Mastercard and Discovery Education prioritized the accessibility of these resources.

If you are a parent, guardian, teacher, educator—or just someone with a young girl they care about in their life— please share this resource with someone who can do these activities with them. The more girls that are exposed to technical topics, the higher the chance those same girls will grow up confident that they can tackle technical problems to study and to pursue in their career.