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DC Year in Review, Part II: From the Field to the Sky: Pushing the Limits of STEM Education

Microsoft Field TripAt Techbridge, we know that learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom. That’s why we schedule at least two field trips at each of our school sites throughout the year. Introducing girls to science, technology and engineering careers, and a variety of jobs, these field trips include Role Models from the host organization, both men and women, who welcome the girls to their workplace and provide a hands-on activity to reflect the work conducted there.

Hosts are both supportive and inclusive, giving Techbridge girls a chance to see how STEM works in professional settings. For example, his school year Techbridge DC girls’ built Lego Mindstorms robots through TATA Consulting Services’ GoIT program; took apart mainframes at Symantec; experienced transparent circuit panels at Microsoft, and supported more than 4000 attendees at the US Science and Engineering Festival, where Techbridge was featured at the Chevron tent.Chevron photo

goITAccess to real-world STEM experience doesn’t stop with interactive field trips. At Techbridge, we also engage women, working in STEM professions as Role Models to meet with our girls at least two times a year at each school site. These women share their personal journey to STEM careers and lead engaging activities that represent their fields of expertise. This in-depth process requires that before meeting the girls, Role Models attend a specialized training to help them deliver a high quality experience. Our women Role Models are dedicated and driven to support the next generation of women in STEM, providing our girls ways to identify and connect with tangible career paths.

For instance, this year, Role Models introduced girls to science and engineering concepts in architecture, aeronautics, environmental engineering, and more. Role models like Vanessa from HOK introduced green roof design to girls from the Techbridge DC Bilingual program. She and her colleagues brought in real plants, sponges made of rock, and other materials, which are used to manufacture of green roofs. Girls were even able to take home a tiny sample roof too!

In addition to experiencing STEM in action, professional life skills insights come into play. Girls from Jefferson Middle School met Chiamaka and Stephanie from Microsoft who spent extra time with our girls, sharing their personal stories, and teaching real-world skills, like how to greet someone in a business setting. From Role Models to field trips, professionals in STEM provide our girls with valuable experience in STEM education.

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