Girls Tech Career Day 2015 Recap

posted in: Events, Girls | 0

Writeup and photographs by Shuva Rahim, Accent Photographics. Recap was originally posted onĀ Many thanks to Shuva for recording this special day!

DNA Extraction, Computer Programming + UX Design Highlight 2015 GTCD

On Friday, the Iowa Tech Chicks held its 3rd annual Girls Tech Career Day. I’ve been a part of this event, photographing it each time and this third time around was quite incredible. We had some award funding and more sponsors (Neumann Monson Architects was also a sponsor but not included on this year’s shirts due to a late contribution). We also hosted more girls this year – 39 girls from Grades 5-8.
Girls Tech Career Day shirtsIn addition, we had a new venue as our home base, the brand new Kirkwood Regional Center at The University of Iowa. The day began with registration. After the girls signed in, they had a chance to make name tags that lit up.
Paper Circuitsgtcdblog3paper circuit name tagIn the meantime, Project Lead the Way students Abigail and Brooke from Iowa City West High School were playing around with robots, which they showed the girls how to control after they got their name tags.
PLTW robotsPLTW robotsBefore the day got underway, organizer Laura Christenson had the girls do an icebreaker. So there was a lot of splitting into groups based on what colors, foods and activities the girls like… and it was a fun way for the participants to introduce themselves and make new friends.
IcebreakersCo-organizer Deb Walton then split the girls into two groups. One group started the day learning how to tear apart a computer, a session we’ve had as part of the event all three years and this year taught once again by Kristine Arens of SiloTree Coaching and Consulting.
Computer TeardownComputer TeardownComputer TeardownComputer TeardownThe second group started their day learning about programming thanks to Tricia Ball, a software engineer with Continuity.
Sphero programming
Tricia taught the girls about programming using a Sphero, controlling the object through coding from an iPad. They divided into groups and experimented directing the ball with simple instructions from one point to another, to more elaborate obstacle courses.
Sphero programmingSphero programming
The girls’ next activity – done as a full group – involved packaging a Pringle to the point you’ll never look at a potato chip the same way again. At least I won’t. This activity led by Abigail and Brooke, challenged the girls to package a single Pringle so the contraption could withstand three secret tests (a fall, heavy weight and be submerged underwater). Teams of girls were given a large strip of masking tape and some sheets of paper.
Protect the Pringle
One team really got into the spirit of this activity, even going so far as signing their homemade Pringle package.
Protect the Pringle
The Abigail and Brooke tested each team’s package.
Protect the PringleProtect the Pringle
Protect the Pringle
There were a few Pringle packages that didn’t survive, so the girls got a second chance now that they knew the challenges.
Protect the Pringle
Protect the Pringle
Protect the Pringle
Finding out if the new strategies worked…
Protect the Pringle
… followed by the excitement of an intact Pringle!
Protect the Pringle
After lunch, the girls learned about UX Design, or User Experience Design, from Katelyn Lensch and her colleagues at Connect Five. The girls were charged with developing a purse to fit different pre-assigned personas. It was an activity involving research in the form of the girls asking questions to a ConnectFive staff member as well as collaboration on a concept, and, finally, constructing the design.
UX Design
The girls took a short bus ride (thank you ICCSD!) to Integrated DNA Technologies (IDT) to learn about how DNA can influence a person’s physical features and got the experience of extracting DNA from a strawberry.
Strawberry DNA
The girls extracted a solution that would help separate the DNA from the fruit and inserted it with the crushed strawberry.
Strawberry DNAStrawberry DNA
The plastic bag is cut, and the strawberry pours into the test tube through the funnel. After a while, the foamy bit – the DNA – rises to the top.
Strawberry DNA
The girls even got to take a sample of the DNA they extracted home with them in a tiny test tube!
Strawberry DNA
Here’s our girls and most of our volunteers this year!
Girls Tech Career Day 2015 girlsGirls Tech Career Day 2015 Volunteers

More about Girls Tech Career Day

At tech day, ‘Girls can do anything they put their minds to’ – Holly Hines, Iowa City Press-Citizen

IDT’s Flickr Gallery

Girls Tech Career Day is held each fall between first and second trimesters for the Iowa City Community School District.