#STEMSpotlight: ChickTech

#STEMSpotlight: ChickTech

What’s the name of your organization? ChickTech

What is your name and title? Dani Gehm (she/her) - National Marketing Manager, ChickTechLisa O’Brian (she/her) - Central Oregon Volunteer Leader, ChickTech

In which city (or cities) is your organization located? ChickTech is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. In 2021, ChickTech served youth and adults in over 30 states and 15 countries! In Oregon, we served students from the cities of Albany, Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Dallas, Hillsboro, Lebanon, Lake Oswego, Nyssa, Philomath, Portland, Redmond, Salem, Tigard, and Warm Springs.

What are the ages and demographics of youth you work with? We work with girls (including trans students) and non-binary youth from 8th - 12th grade, with a special emphasis on students who don’t think of themselves as technical but who have the aptitude to do well in STEM fields. In 2021, 71% of our participants identified as students of color, and 19% reported as eligible for free or reduced school lunches.

Describe your organization and its mission. ChickTech was founded in 2012 to engage women and non-binary people of all ages in the technology industry while working to create a better technology culture for all to advance our mission of broadening the pipeline of girls and women into technology and increasing retention of women throughout their careers. Through hands-on tech-centric events and programs, we build community, empower participants to see themselves as leaders, and provide networking and mentoring opportunities in the rapidly growing tech industry. Our programs include ChickTech: High School, ACT-W (Advancing the Careers of Technical Women) Conferences, and ACT-W+ – an online membership community for technologists of all genders.

What are the short and long-term goals for your organization? At the forefront of our mission is to make technology careers more accessible and inclusive for people historically underrepresented in the field. In the short term, we’re committed to providing more accommodations for our participants to reduce participation barriers. This includes increased laptop and internet access support for youth to participate in our free online workshops, and scholarships for adults to participate in fee-based ACT-W events.Long-term, ChickTech aims to develop long-lasting relationships with corporate partners to boost employee engagement and offer more professional development opportunities, leading to an inclusive corporate culture. We’re also committed to continually evaluating and refining our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices, with a focus on providing tailored volunteer opportunities so that all passionate technologists can participate in furthering our mission.

How can TAO and community members support your work? Directly supporting our mission through a donation helps us increase access to our programs for hundreds of youth and adults each year. You can donate year-round at chicktech.org/donate, or check out our year-end campaign: #10YearsofChickTech to give during the holiday season!Volunteering is also an excellent way to give back. As a largely volunteer-run organization, we offer both short- and long-term volunteer opportunities, from running workshops to helping us plan our impact behind the scenes. Interested in volunteering or learning more about us? Join our next Committee Call on February 8, 2022!This blog post is part of an awareness campaign about organizations working to advance STEM education opportunities for Oregon youth. A big thank you to Oregon Community Foundation for supporting STEM education!

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