The girls of SEA have been getting real-world experience, fixing networking, computer and wiring issues, helping to update and upgrade the systems at their school.
So far Linux Mint is a solid win on the girls’ newly-built computers – thanks to the guys at MintCast for letting me tell the world a little bit about what we’re trying to do here.
Open Source Software is, in short, a fair part of how we can do what we are doing. Students are using various tools for real-world solutions — like DBAN to wipe a hard drive so it can be safely re-purposed.
Several of the girls have applied for the Xtreme IT! Program at local University of Missouri – St. Louis.
The school hopes to offer this as a for-credit course during the 2012-2013 school year.
(I was going to write a newsletter, but I feel like I just did)
“Girls Can!” is something very simple, and yet fundamental.
It’s about helping girls get over that initial “I can’t touch that, I’ll break it!” fear of technology, so they find out they really *can* do that.
The shortage of women in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields is no secret. I feel a lot of it has to do with what happens before college. Girls, in general, are not as often encouraged to tinker, take things apart, figure out how things work. So what happens, if you give the girls a little support, and a few tools?
There’s a wonderful school in St. Louis, called St. Elizabeth Academy, that is all about helping girls find out just what they are capable of. They very generously agreed to help me start this project, offering not only the use of their computer lab, but the enthusiastic support of staff and students alike. In just over four months, this group of young ladies proved …
They can build a really awesome desktop PC, running Linux Mint 12 64-bit on a quad-core AMD.
They can help replace a switch on the school network.
And, I believe, they can do anything they set their minds to. It amazes me, how much they have accomplished, in such a short time … just an hour, once or twice a week, squeezed in between orchestra, basketball, study hall, and even after school and Saturdays.
Last week, we went on a field trip to MicroCenter. The girls got to tour the “Build Your Own” area, and then to speak with one of the “Knowledge Bar” associates, and to see the work shop area. Huge kudos to the wonderful folk there — many, many thanks!!
One of the biggest challenges is finding time slots where the girls can attend. Next year, St. Elizabeth is hoping to be able to make this a for-credit course. I’d love to see that happen — and to see this grow.