STEM Ideas From GeekGirlCon ’14
Over 7,000 self-identified geeks descended on Seattle for GeekGirlCon ’14, an annual event that seeks to create community, celebrate women in the geek culture, and connect geeky women and their friends. Features of the convention range from costume (cosplay) contests and meet-and-greets with sci-fi authors to sessions on 3D printing and coding–all in a fun, friendly, and encouraging atmosphere.
Attending the convention itself is inspiring. Every corner is filled with the creativity and ingenuity of attendees. Here are a few great ideas for teachers, parents, and students from the event:
Coding. If you can write, you can make a computer game. A workshop by Jaqueline Ashwell introduced two free types of programs that can stealthily (or not so stealthily) get kids, parents, and anyone into coding and creating interactive fiction games. These text-based adventures are like a “choose your own adventure” story with links and a few basic commands that the reader can use.
Twine is extremely easy to learn to start using immediately. Plus, there are a ton of resources online to help you learn to code – and contests to spark your creativity! Check out auntiepixelante.com to get started, or play some games others have created at ifdb.tads.org. Be aware that game content is not screened.
Scholarships. The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) offers scholarships for undergraduate women in science in Washington State. Applications for the 2015-16 school year will be available in November and will be awarded in June 2015. To find out everything you need to know to apply (or donate to the fun!) visit seattleawis.org.
The Washington State Opportunity Scholarship provides money for Washington State resident undergraduate students majoring in science, technology, engineering, math, health, and other high-demand fields. The application for 2015-2016 will be available in January!
Science in Seattle. In addition to Seattle’s science cafes and town hall events (check out Science on Tap and Pacific Science Center), Seattle AWIS hosts free monthly programs on the third Wednesday of each month at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Upcoming topics include Global Empowerment of Women through STEM and Recreational Marijuana: Science and Society.
Clubs. You could easily be envious of all the cool activities that the Big Brained Superheroes do–or use their blog as a source of inspiration! Big Brained Superheroes states that their club is, “On a mission to tap into the hidden strengths that all young people have through interdisciplinary exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM).” They leverage skills like teamwork and leadership to “invent and make our way to a better world.”
There was so much to see at GeekGirlCon ’14, I couldn’t get to it all, including:
- “A Year of Creation, Not Consumption” by father and daughter, John and Lily Williamson, who decided to spend a year creating more–games, movies, cooking, songs, books–than they consumed.
- “The Unicorn Files” – Show the women and girls in your life that geeks come in all shapes, sizes, and genders. Check out the Unicorn Files photography and profile project on Tumblr.
Did you attend GeekGirlCon ’14 this year? Comment to share your experience. Know of conferences like GeekGirlCon that engages women in EdTech and STEM? We would love to hear from you.
For more on women in STEM and EdTech, check out:
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