GREENSBORO – Dozens of high school girls are spending the week at UNC Greensboro learning more about high tech jobs. The idea is to teach the teens about the field of information technology and possibly get them interested in a career in the future.
It's only a few days into the UNCG IT Camp for Girls and Raveena Chhabria has already created an app for her Droid smart-phone.
“I never expected for myself to have this much fun in doing web design or scratch or mobile apps or the film festival,” said Chhabria, a senior at the Early College at Guilford.
But fun is exactly what organizers were looking for and maybe an interest in an IT related career.
“There's a significant growth in IT jobs, but there are not enough women in IT and as in any profession, we want the different perspectives. So we don't want applications to be developed that doesn't get the perspectives of women,” said Dr. Lakshmi Iyer, a Professor of Information Systems and Operation Management at UNCG.
Nearly 70 girls are learning what types of jobs are out there, everything from advertising, video editing and networking. But it wouldn't have happened without a $10,000 grant from the American Association of University Women.
“Many girls, although they are computer literate, don't particularly see themselves in that role unless we mentor them and give them opportunities,” said Mary Fran Schickedantz with the AAUW.
Gina Murray drove from the Wilmington area to give her daughter this opportunity. She says it's all about exposing her to as many things as she can.
“And if I am able to bridge that by bringing her three hours or four hours to have her see different avenues and different doors that can be opened to you then she can take that back and say hey, I would like a career in IT, where do I need to go,” said Gina Murray, a parent from Duplin County.
Helping more women to think about IT and their future.
“No matter what you do these days, even if you're a scientist in biology or a doctor doing healthcare, things are electronic, things are digitized. So there is a piece of that, that IT people can get involved in, no matter what your interest,” said Steve Tate, Head of the Computer Science Department at UNCG.
This is the first year for the camp and officials hope with the community's support they can expand it in years to come.