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November 14, 2019

TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board Members Gain Valuable Experiences as Aspiring Technologists – Part 1

Seven teenage girls with a love of technology spent a busy year serving on the TechGirlz Teen Advisory Board (TAB). Chosen at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, these girls met (virtually and in person) to give input on TechGirlz programs. While serving, they also led workshops, developed curricula and gained valuable skills as aspiring technologists.


TechGirlz, a Creating IT Futures program, exposes middle school girls to potential tech careers through fun and educational hands-on workshops called TechShopz and through other activities to inspire a lifelong passion and confidence in their use of technology throughout their careers.


Volunteer Amy Freeman caught up with members of the 2018-2019 TAB to find out what their year was like. They shared insights into their experience serving on the TAB and how their TAB tenure inspired them to pursue other leadership opportunities.


Take a peek at what tomorrow’s technologists were up to in this first post in our 3-part series:


Nicole-Xiang-headshot-150x150Nicole Xiang


Nicole Xiang experienced a lot of growth during the past year and over the summer, thanks to her involvement with TechGirlz. She describes this year as the “most important” one during her TechGirlz journey, noting that she’s challenged herself on many levels.


During the year, Xiang’s involvement with TechGirlz grew from serving as a TA during workshops to leading workshops and finally to working with the TechGirlz curriculum team to develop her own workshop on 3D modeling. The workshop finally launched after four months of preparation and planning.


Over the summer, Nicole Xiang kept up her involvement with the TAB and spent a day volunteering at the Girls Take Charge camp. She then had the opportunity to study a subject that fascinates her, reproductive science, by working in a lab at the University of Pennsylvania. There, she studied infertility in mice. She worked alongside a mentor to discover if two testis-specific proteins interacted and contributed to the subfertility of male mice.


Lilia-236x300-150x150Lilia Becker


After a busy year with TechGirlz, Lilia Becker landed an exciting internship with the Bioinformatics lab in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). The project she worked on involved taking the phenotypic data of patients with birth defects and representing the findings mathematically.


Becker’s role was to write Python code that converts the data into vectors for quantitative analysis. She compiled data from more than 5,000 patients and sorted through more than 100,000 keys for different disease types. She also helped with data analysis by using Python to create graphs.


The team’s findings were to be published and presented during the American Society for Human Genetics conference late in the year.


Along with her internship at CHOP, Becker dedicated a considerable amount of time to TechGirlz. She TA’ed and then taught TinkerCAD workshops, writing up a blog post about her experience. She also assisted during Solving Genetic Mysteries, Designing Mobile Apps, and 3D Design workshops and volunteered at the Franklin Institute table and the Tech Exploration Day table.


Click to read Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.


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