Techbridge is a multifaceted program designed to encourage girls in science, technology, and engineering. It is conducted through afterschool and summer programs in Oakland, California, and surrounding communities. The program actively engages female students with hands-on activities, such as design challenges, electronic kits, and solar-powered building blocks. In addition, the program promotes student leadership through public speaking exercises and opportunities to present to peers and adults.
The program began in 2000 and serves 300 girls ages 10 through 18 annually. The majority of these students are from underrepresented minorities. Often, these girls are the first in their families to attend college. Career exploration is a major component of the program and is supported by field trips to worksites, job shadowing opportunities, and classroom visits by role models. Techbridge also offers internships for students where they create products for other girls, such as a college application resource handbook and a career website (www.techbridgecareers.org).
Techbridge has created a pipeline from elementary school through middle and high school with many students returning to the program year after year. The older girls serve as mentors for the younger girls, and families are invited to outreach events. Community partnerships with universities, businesses, and other organizations that serve girls also are an integral part of the program.
An evaluation of Techbridge demonstrates that the program's goals of increasing girls' technical skills, confidence, and interest in pursuing science, technology, and engineering are being met. In one high school that has been part of the program for two years, more than 90 percent of the graduating girls have gone on to choose majors in technology, science, or engineering in college. Teachers and parents also report that that the girls involved in Techbridge demonstrate leadership in other venues. In 2005, Techbridge was selected by the National Science Foundation as an example of a model program demonstrating significant achievement.
Copyright © 2009 Learning Point Associates. All rights reserved.