Girls Grok Tech

IBM program hopes to spur interest in science

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    Kent Wilhoite
    IBM researchers hope to spark an interest in science.

    Swetha Sriram wants to design robots when she grows up.

    I wanted to play in the NBA.

    Swetha, in middle school, has a way better chance at reaching her career goal that I ever did, thanks in part to the world's biggest technology company, IBM.  Big Blue took time out from designing chips and drives, to chip away at a stereotype that drives many of us in the tech world to distraction:  That tech, and the tech industry, is only for men.

    IBM calls it "Girl Tech Camp."  It's simple, really:  gathering girls like Swetha together in various cities (we caught up with them in San Jose), and showing them that technology can be cool.  A career worth dreaming about.  So they play around with dry ice, learn what diodes are, and what they do, and experiment with solar panels.

    Girls' Tech Camp

    [BAY] Girls' Tech Camp
    A program for Silicon Valley middle-school girls aims to spark interest in science and technology.

    "If you tell somebody they can build a solar nightlight with glass wires and a plastic bottle," Swetha says, "I think they would be interested."  Just wait until later in the week, when the girls take a trip to the NASA AMES Research Center, to learn about space travel.

    That's what Middle-schooler Kelly Medina is waiting for.  Kelly, it turns out, wants to be an astronaut.  I'd say her odds are pretty good.