STEM Programs

YWCA STEM/TechGYRLS Programs

In 1997, a program called TechGYRLS was developed by the YWCA USA in order to address the still-evident and significant gender gap in girls’ development of interest and skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In 2014, YWCA USA became a partner with the Million Women Mentors initiative in order to strengthen STEM programming for girls and young women across the country. Million Women Mentors® (MWM) is an initiative of STEMconnector®, a company which works closely with corporations and organizations to assist in corporate development, corporate structure and smart STEM investments. The goal of MWM is to captivate one million mentors to link with one million girls and young professionals for their STEM careers.

STEM programs, like TechGYRLS, provide girls with opportunities for intensive technology exploration, while being encouraged and supported to succeed. Robotics, multimedia, science and engineering projects introduced in the programs focus on hands-on problem solving and STEM challenges, while also incorporating communication, critical thinking, time management, and presentation skills. The curriculum is interactive, and educational activities are uniquely structured to address the varied learning styles between girls and boys.

Many YWCA STEM programs reach out to students who come from underserved communities, including high poverty, ethnic and racial minorities, as well as disabled populations. All of these groups are significantly underrepresented in STEM career fields. YWCA STEM programs offer a unique curriculum that also incorporates related racial justice, gender equity and community action issues. These highly successful and stimulating programs broaden girls’ knowledge and help them develop confidence and new skills in using technology. Furthermore, they help girls envision many appealing career opportunities in technology. Below are a few examples of the STEM programs being offered at YWCA local associations.

  • YWCA Greater Pittsburgh provides extra-curricular STEM programming to over 300 students annually. For the past several years, the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh has partnered with Carnegie Mellon University’s Institute of Technology and Robotic Institute to enhance and inform its work. Most recently, the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh has begun a pilot STEM program in a rural community, Green County, with a model to address achievement gaps and the unique needs of students in a rural community. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s STEM programs include TechGYRLS, the STEM Impact Initiative, and STEAM.
  • YWCA Greater Atlanta’s TGI Tech program prepares young women to enter a world of non-traditional STEM-related careers, such as engineering, oceanography, computer science and biotechnology. The program links girls to successful women in STEM professions for mentoring and encouragement. Through their partnership with One Economy’s Digital Connectors, program participants of TGI Tech are immersed in certified tech trainings that build leadership skills and prepare them for today’s workplace.
  • YWCA Lake County (Ill.) offers both a TechGYRLS and TechTEENS program. Their TechTEENS program helps girls plan for the future and pursue careers in STEM. They concentrate on college planning, scholarship research, resume writing, job skills and professionalism. The YWCA Lake County TechGYRLS program is the proud creator of informational apps, in collaboration with Portrait Health Publishing, that are available for download for Apple and Android devices.