Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls in sixth through ninth grade to these fields and to inform families about STEM education and careers.
Although the program focuses on exciting girls about STEM, Tech Savvy also includes an important program for parents. This component encourages families to reinforce the girls’ interest in STEM. Keep reading for more details on the program for girls and their families.
Where It All Started
Tech Savvy was founded in 2006 by the AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch, under the leadership of then- branch president and Praxair employee Tamara Brown. With the support of Praxair and community groups, this annual event has become a huge success, serving upwards of 700 girls and 200 parents each spring at the University of Buffalo in New York.
Tech Savvy for Girls
The day begins with hands-on workshops in various math and science fields. Past workshops include “Math: Exploring Complex Worlds with Simple Rules,” which combined computers with the world of mathematics. “Robotics” explored mechatronics and virtual reality, and “Re-using Your Environment,” taught girls how to help the planet through recycling.
The second portion of the day focuses on “savvy skills.” These are skills girls can use in their daily lives, such as critical thinking, sharing opinions, public speaking, and knowledge about financial literacy, negotiation, and interviewing.
Tech Savvy for Parents
The parents’ program features speakers on STEM education and careers, encouraging parents to ask questions about these fields. Previous family programs have included “7 Things You Should Know about Financial and Academic Preparedness” and keynote speaker Lisa Maatz, AAUW Vice President of Government Relations.
During the final portion of the day, parents and girls reconvene to hear from a keynote speaker relevant to the theme of the conference. In the past, Tech Savvy has showcased speakers from IBM and other high-profile corporations. Speakers have also come from nonprofit trailblazers such as Echoing Green, an organization that provides seed money to kickstart nonprofits like Teach for America and City Year.
Professional women and students in STEM serve as Tech Savvy volunteers and role models. Volunteers provide crucial opportunities for the next generation of girls in STEM to meet real women who are succeeding in these educational and professional fields.