Helping Girls Power New Possibilities through Technology

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Many K-12 children in the United States don’t have access to the programs, teachers and tools they need to learn effectively. Today, we announced 2.4 million in grants to U.S. charities working to close this learning gap.

These groups are providing after-school programs, technology labs, college preparation — even electronic music training. And they’re making these programs available to underserved children who need it most.

We shouldn’t forget that — when it comes to technology — girls often aren’t encouraged to develop their skills in science and technology, regardless of their other socioeconomic characteristics. Consider this: Down from 37 percent in 1985, only 18 percent of computer and information science degrees were awarded to women in 2008, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology.

Girl Scouts of the USA is addressing this need through its “Journey and Connect Through Technology Program,” which introduces girls to technology concepts and helps them gain skills that promote critical thinking and teamwork. Dell funds and technology will support a Girl Scouts “Be the Video Game Designer” program that puts girls in the driver’s seat as they choose their avatars, storylines and other video game features. “Be the Video Game Designer” will be modeled after Girl Scouts’ successful online “Be the Director” immersive simulation game.

“One of the strengths of Girl Scouts is that we use the girls’ interests to guide STEM programmatic experiences,” says Frank Signorello, manager of STEM programs for Girl Scouts of the USA. “For instance, the Northern California council will engage their girls using the Universe Quest curriculum as the technology component. In Universe Quest, girls learn about astronomy concepts and then apply their newly-discovered skills and knowledge to create their own computer video games.

“With the incorporation of Girl Scouts USA’s ‘Be the Video Game Designer,’ we believe Universe Quest – which already features video game design and creation as a key activity – will be a perfect addition for the Journey and Connect Through Technology program.”

And Dell supports other groups such as GENAustin, Girls Inc., Latinitas and Girlstart who are giving children the power to do more with their futures. We’ll let the students at Girlstart tell you how:

We recognize that all youth —boys and girls —need equal access to technology and quality educational programs. We’re very proud of the charities with whom we work. To learn more about their efforts, and how they’re creating new possibilities for children around the world, visit www.dell.com/youthlearning.


Trisa Thompson

About the Author: Trisa Thompson

Trisa Thompson is the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Dell, with responsibility for Dell's global giving and sustainability. Previously at Dell, Trisa served as Vice President, Legal, for the Global Operations, Marketing and Product Groups, and was a member of the Legal Team for 12 years. She was the founding co-chair of the Women's Networking Group, W.I.S.E., at Dell, and also serves on the PRIDE Executive Board. She is also a member of the Global Giving and Sustainability Councils. Trisa joined Dell in June 1998 from the Washington, D.C. office of Seyfarth, Shaw. Trisa was a partner with Seyfarth in its Government Procurement Law practice. She specialized in federal, state, and local procurement law and litigation. She joined Seyfarth directly out of law school in 1986.