Last year, colleagues from the Vancouver office approached Holly Sandoval and me with their GIRLsmarts4tech program. Developed in partnership with the University of British Colombia, the program involves workshops designed to engage middle school girls with technology through hands-on learning. Holly and I jumped at the opportunity to inspire young women to explore careers in technology and took the lead for bringing the program to Silicon Valley.
As the lead for SAP Business Women’s Network in Silicon Valley, I am involved with creating mentoring and growth opportunities for colleagues. This program was an opportunity for me to reach out to young women outside SAP and work with similarly minded colleagues and community members.
After a successful pilot in 2014 and another workshop in February 2015, SAP Silicon Valley opened its doors on Saturday, October 10 for a half-day technology workshop for 6th and 7th grade girls. The workshop’s activities, which included music and technology, 3D printing, programming sensors, and UI design, provided the girls an opportunity to work hands-on with technology and interact with SAP employees.
With over 45 girls and 18 SAPsv volunteers, this was the best session yet. The girls spent the day learning from SAP employees, designing their own apps, remixing and producing music, and experimenting with programming sensors and 3D printers.
We started the day with a few ice-breaker activities. Vivienne Wang, innovation project manager at SAP’s Vancouver office, who helped start the GIRLsmarts4tech program, gave a keynote presentation about her career, her passion for SAP, and the manifold exciting career possibilities that the girls could explore in technology. After hearing her encouraging words, the girls were excited to jump into the day’s activities and discover more.
Session 1 – Music and Technology
During this activity, girls learned about music production by mixing their own music.
Session 2 – UI Design
The girls learned about design principles and used them in making apps.
Session 3 – d-shop
SAPsv opened up the d-shop where the girls saw 3D printers in action and learned about programming sensors.
After a long day of interactive learning, the girls were on their way home with newly acquired tools and ideas that we hope continue to inspire their pursuits in technology. Our SAPsv employees also left the workshop with a greater sense of purpose and connection with the Silicon Valley community.