WiSTEM hosts TechGirlz workshop focused on digital experiences


Katelyn Zhao

WiSTEM co-president Kavita Murthy (12) looks on with Ashley Hong (10) during the TechGirlz workshop. Officers went around each of the three science rooms to check in with the club members while they were hosting.

by Katelyn Zhao, Reporter

13 members from the Women in STEM (WiSTEM) club hosted a TechGirlz event, “Think Like a Designer: Unplugged,” for middle school girls after school on Zoom on Nov. 19.

As the only organization WiSTEM partners with outside of Harker, TechGirlz aims to foster the interest of middle school girls, especially those who might not have access to STEM classes at their own schools, in STEM fields such as technology and offer them creative, interactive workshops. 

TechGirlz is an outside program started by nonprofit CompTIA, which makes it different from other projects WiSTEM does like STEM Buddies, the partnership between WiSTEM and the lower school. The club hosted the TechGirlz events virtually last year. 

“It’s our way of reaching out to different communities, and it’s really cool because it’s branching out of Harker’s bubble and talking to kids with other experiences,” vice president of external relations Thresia Vazhaeparambil (12) said. “Everyone has diverse ideas no matter where you go, and getting to hear the perspectives of other kids and their ideas is great.”

Even though the workshop itself is online, club members experienced it together in person and worked through the obstacles that occured. In preparation, members created slides and participated in practice sessions, but some technical difficulties occurred. The microphone of one participant’s computer stopped working, so when the girls showed their design of an app they would use, the members accommodated her by using the chat function in Zoom. 

“I really tried to make sure all the kids felt included,” WiSTEM club member Ananya Das (9) said. “TechGirlz is a workshop for young people to get them inspired. When I was younger, I didn’t think STEM was for me, but it’s just about helping them realize what their passions are.” 

In another activity dedicated to writing a love letter to an app they love, Thresia noted that the girls responded positively to the exercise and also brainstormed their own app ideas. 

“One girl wrote to Minecraft, and afterwards, she said she wanted to share it with her dad because he also loved Minecraft,” Thresia said. “Hearing the different ideas they came up with was so interesting [because] thinking differently about what app you want that does not already exist is so refreshing.”

WiSTEM also hosted another TechGirlz event on Monday, which was completely virtual. Other WiSTEM events and round two of TechGirlz workshops will be held in January and February of next year.