Jeanette Blain | Staff Writer |@JeanetteBlain
March 13, UVU and Women Tech Council presented the second annual SheTech Explorer Day from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Girls from local high schools came to UVU to explore careers in technology and other STEM fields. It was developed last year by Dr. Angela Trego, an assistant professor in technology management at UVU.
“One of our goals is to share with girls that you don’t have to be great at math, but you want be serious; you want to be creative. It’s not just sitting in front of a computer and coding,” Trego said.
The event is free for participants.
Last year, 350 girls registered. This year that number climbed to over 900.
Each participant chose three workshops out of the 27 offered to attend. The classes, with names like: Changing the World through Robotics, CSI: UVU, and Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend, gave the students hands-on experience with leading-edge science and technology.
Parents and educators could also attend workshops to learn how to prepare female students interested in STEM careers.
In between workshops the girls visited the Grande Ballroom which was filled with over 30 information booths from company sponsors and UVU departments. The displays offered a mix of live demonstrations and career information.
Ancestry.com is one of SheTech’s main sponsors. Jamie Dalton, content acquisition manager, says that her company is committed to supporting women in technology.
She is the co-creator of Ancestry’s Women in Technology organization, which aims to promote a diverse workplace and arm women with the confidence to get more out of their careers. At SheTech she helped run a workshop called Pick Your Role in Technology, which shows girls a range of career options, from coding to DNA analysis.
“If you want a promotion, ask for it. If you want a raise, ask for it,” said Dalton.
Sascha Hatfield, biochemistry major at UVU, was excited to be involved in SheTech. Dressed in a lab coat and goggles, she demonstrated chemistry experiments for the girls visiting her booth.
“There are a lot of bright young women out there that can really contribute to this field. If you look throughout history there are a lot of women that contributed to science, greatly,” said Hatfield.
At noon, the students gathered in the UCCU center for lunch and a keynote address by Carine Clark, President and CEO of Maritz CX, entitled “It’s Good to be Queen”. Clark spoke about how women, like Oprah, Margaret Thatcher and Malala Yousafzai, are paving the way for girls to be successful.
After lunch, the students started a two-hour tech challenge led by Trego. Teams were asked to design a transportation system that would alleviate traffic and pollution problems on routes to local ski resorts. Prizes were given away to the teams with the most innovative and impactful solutions.
Trego said challenges like the ones posed at SheTech Explorer Day are important. She hopes that exposure to opportunities and problem-solving skills will help girls gain the confidence to solve real-life tech problems.