Connecting Female Students of Color to Role Models in the Tech World
For Chanel Easley, teacher at Techbridge, it’s all about role models.
She believes it’s essential for the girls in her after-school program to see real life examples of women doing the science, technology and engineering work that catches their interest.
“When I was in school,” Easley explains, “I didn’t see hardly any women of color and that’s a stereotype that we are trying to dispel with our girls.” Through the Techbridge program, women working in tech fields visit schools and lead workshops that represent their field of expertise. The student participants are from underserved populations, and seeing women like them in challenging STEM-based careers is a powerful force for inspiration.
Easley describes the environment and why it’s so crucial to inspire the next generation. “Tech companies are so male dominant that we want to highlight the women who are doing really good work and show the girls, hey you can do that too!”
Techbridge also inspires girls by arranging field trips so they can see what it’s actually like to work at a tech company. Easley says that some of her students have told her that they want to work for Google or the other companies they visit on field trips and she sees it as her job “to keep them going so that they can achieve that goal.”
While helping girls to pursue tech careers is good for girls, it’s also good for Washington’s tech companies. Right now in Washington, there are 45,000 unfilled STEM jobs because applicants don’t have the required skills. With programs like Techbridge and the continued efforts of teachers like Chanel Easley, the future could see those jobs filled by women of color, people from impoverished backgrounds and other underserved populations .
CenturyLink is a global communications hosting, cloud and IT services company committed to strengthening and improving the communities it serves. CenturyLink focuses its philanthropic and volunteer efforts on K-12 education programs that support technology-focused initiatives. Learn more about CenturyLink.