Tag Archives: technology education

Women in STEM Podcast Episode 20 – Pooja Chandrashekar, Founder and CEO of ProjectCSGIRLS


Interview with Pooja Chandrashekar, Founder and CEO of ProjectCSGIRLS. Pooja is currently a high school senior who founded ProjectCSGIRLS as a sophomore to address the gender gap in technology. ProjectCSGIRLS is a national youth-driven nonprofit which runs a national computer science competition, as well as workshops for middle school girls. This year ProjectCSGIRLS is also launching an international competition. Pooja speaks about her outreach work at conferences around the country, including O’Reilly Velocity New York Conference, the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference, the Global Tech Women Voices Conference, and the STEM Symposium for the National Capital Region.

Pooja Chandrashekar

Deadline for signing up for the ProjectCSGIRLS U.S. Competition is Feb 1st if you’d like a mentor assigned, Feb 15th otherwise. Projects are due April 1st.

Hosted by Sarah Worsham.

Music is Light Emotions by MIGmusic.

Listen to Women in STEM podcast Episode 20:

Show Notes

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Students Think Tablets Make Learning Fun


school boy using tablet computerWe all know that kids are hooked on technology — especially smartphones and tablets — but a recent survey conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Pearson shows that 90% of the kids believe that tablets will change the way they learn in the future and 89% believe tablets will make learning more fun. This could be good news for schools looking for better ways to use technology with their kids — especially since tablets can be more affordable than full laptops or computers.

Interestingly, 1 to 1 computing and high speed Internet access is still a challenge for schools. While using and owning a mobile device is growing among students, only 62% have wireless access at school versus 93% who have wireless access at home. Only 16% of students attend a school that provides every student with a laptop or tablet.

The survey asked 2252 students how they currently use mobile technology for learning and how they would would like to use it in the future. Respondents included 501 elementary school students (4-5th grade), 750 middle school students (6-8th grade), and 1001 high school students (9th-12th grade).

“This year’s study findings show a high level of optimism, engagement and confidence with mobile devices among U.S. students,” said Douglas Kubach, president, Pearson’s School group. “While we are seeing consistent growth of mobile device use among students for school work, a gap still exists between home and school access, preventing many schools from taking full advantage of the digital learning technologies available today that can be instrumental in improving educational experiences for students.”

It looks like there is an opportunity for app developers to continue to work to improve educational offerings on tablet devices.


Register for The Nation’s Biggest Computer Science Competition for Middle School Girls


1487918_770154953048219_4429101847756277780_oIt’s one thing to have a computer science contest for middle school girls — it’s quite another to have that contest be run by high school and college girls who are incredibly passionate about computer science. 2015 ProjectCSGIRLS does just that, not only giving middle school girls the confidence they need to know that they can do computer science, but also putting them into direct contact with girls who have had success.

One important aspect computer science and technology, and especially in showing how they are useful to girls, is in how effective they are in solving and mitigating social problems. ProjectCSGIRLS challenges girls to actively use computer science and technology to develop a solution to an imminent social problem in one of three themes — global health, a safer world and intelligent technology.

2014 was the first year of ProjectCSGIRLS and was limited only to students in VA, DC and MD.  Unlike the 2015 event, which is open to all US middle school girls, 2014 did not require applicants to build their projects, only to conceptualize them. 2014 reached over 100 girls with the awards gala drawing over 130 attendees of students, teachers and industry leaders.

For 2015 there will be finalists, state winners, regional winners, national winners and grand prize winners.  All winners state and above will be invited to the two-day national gala event to interact and network with leaders in technology, tour top tech companies and startups in the DC area, and participate in a formal awards ceremony recognizing their efforts and announcing the 3 grand price award winners from the national winners.  All winners will receive an awards package and be recognized on the ProjectCSGIRLS website.

Judging will be based on originality, demonstration of technical knowledge, creativity, impact and clarity.  Girls will submit their project via the submission portal which opens in January 2015. Results will be released mid March.

For more information on the competition or on how to volunteer or partner, see the 2014 ProjectCSGIRLS website.

Spark Students’ STEM Interests with Verizon’s 3rd Annual Innovative App Challenge


Library Kids on ComputerOne of the best ways to get kids interested in STEM fields is to include them in hands-on activities that let them get a real feel for the creative processes that go into STEM problem solving. The Verizon Innovative App Challenge is calling teams of middle school and high school students to dream up and create concepts for mobile apps that could solve problems in their schools and communities.

One of the winning teams from last year, which was an all-girl team, developed an app called Hello Navi, which assists visually impaired people who are trying to navigate inside buildings — the app was inspired by a blind classmate. Maggie Bolando, the girls’ team advisor, said “The Verizon App Challenge shows what regular kids can do if you challenge them to problem solve and believe in them. Before entering the App Challenge, I never dreamed my students would develop an app that would earn such recognition – they were even invited to the White House Science Fair and demonstrated their app in person for President Obama.”

Created by the Verizon Foundation in partnership with the Technology Student Association, The Verizon Innovative App Challenge encourages students to develop ideas and concepts for mobile apps.  Judging is based on whether the ideas solve challenges in the students’ communities, include STEM principles and are creative, unique and innovative.

The deadline for submission is November 24th and winners will be announced in January 2015.  Students do not need any coding or mobile experience to enter. Eight teams will be named Best in Nation with rewards of $20k each and new Samsung tablets for each team member.

Register or learn more at verizonfoundation.org/appchallenge.

Webucator Launches Program to Provide Free Technology Training to High School Students


webucatorWhile most of us might agree that kids today are more comfortable with technology, that doesn’t mean they know how to leverage it or use it for professional or business reasons.  Webucator, a national training company, is providing free technology training to high school students. Included are a wide range of self-paced courses including web development (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.), Microsoft Office and more.  These are the same courses that are sold to companies and organizations.

To register for  course:

  1. Go to Webucator’s Self-paced Courses page
  2. Find the course you want to take and click the Order Now button.
  3. Enter STEM for the Coupon Code and click Validate Coupon.
  4. Complete registration — Students will need to verify that they are a student between the ages of 13 and 18.
  5. Email stem@webucator.com with any questions.

For more information: Webucator Announces New Student STEM Program