More than 700 girls from Grade 9 classes around Calgary explored the worlds of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) earlier this month. Explore IT is an annual conference that took place at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Mount Royal University and the University of Calgary.
The 17th annual Explore IT exposed young women to high-tech careers through interactive workshops, discovery sessions and one-on-one mentoring at all three campuses.
“Women are still underrepresented in the STEM fields and SAIT’s School of Information and Communication Technologies remains predominantly male,” says Mo Keshavjee, organizer of Explore IT at SAIT. “Explore IT helps young women discover their personal interests in technology, giving them the confidence to consider this area for a career.”
The Government of Alberta’s Short Term Employment Forecast (2015-2017) says software engineers and designers, computer programmers and interactive media developers are all occupations in high demand. Computer and information systems managers and electrical and electronics engineers are also sought after.
At SAIT, girls tried their hands at developing a mobile app, used desktop publishing software for graphic design projects and learned how to detect computer threats and bugs that can infect your system. Explore IT participants at SAIT also dipped their toe into the world of trades — sheet metal, plumbing and automotive – to learn more about these areas of interest.
Keynote speaker Hailee Turpin, director of the Cybermentor program at the University of Calgary, stopped by all three post-secondary locations to speak about the pursuit of new challenges when it comes to innovative technology. Turpin has a degree in political science and a master’s in international business.