Workshop highlights women in technology fields

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From left: Renee Johnson, Jennifer Kerr, Keeley Cassady, Elaina Johnson-Glaser, Alexandra LaMear and Lydia Rusin work together at the Women in Technology Workshop. (Photo by Amanda Foust)

From left: Renee Johnson, Jennifer Kerr, Keeley Cassady, Elaina Johnson-Glaser, Alexandra LaMear and Lydia Rusin work together at the Women in Technology Workshop. (Photo by Amanda Foust)

By Amanda Foust

Middle school girls gathered to hear from five high-profile women in technology-related fields and participate in hands-on projects at a Women in Technology Workshop held Sept. 26. Carmel High School’s Robotics Club, TechHOUNDS, organized the event.

An interdisciplinary question-and-answer panel at the end of the workshop featured U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, Indiana Supt. of Education Glenda Ritz, Project Lead the Way CCO Dorothy Gorman, Beckman Coulter systems engineer Praveena Theertham and Go Electric President/CEO Lisa Laughner.

“I want girls to know how many tech jobs will need them in the future,” Brooks said.

The workshop included a rotation of hands-on learning centers. The girls split into three groups and visited stations focused on computer aided design, computer science and vex robotics team building.

“It’s been a good learning experience,” eighth grader Elaina Johnson said. “I’ve learned how to code and use 3D Auto CAD.”

Vickas Maturi, CHS senior and president of the CCS robotics team, came up with the idea for the workshop with other TechHOUNDS team members. Carolina Hernandez, a junior on the team, said she knew she wanted to explore a career within STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) from an early age.

“With so many men, they feel like they are dominating,” Hernandez said. “With different minds come different ideas.”

Several volunteers stepped up to make the workshop happen.

“Hopefully this generation won’t have to go through what my wife did [to prove herself],” said Tony LaMear, a CHS parent and Ivy Tech’s network engineering professor. “Having women in technology shouldn’t even be a question in the future.”

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