Breaking Down the STEAM Door event educates and empowers young women this Saturday

Breaking Down the STEAM Door 2021 attendees pose at Building Momentum at Garden Alexandria / photo courtesy of Tanesha Davis of Tenacious Developments

ALEXANDRIA, VA – Middle and high school girls have the opportunity this Saturday, November 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to gain a wealth of exposure and knowledge about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). The day, aptly named “Breaking Down the STEAM Door,” focuses on educating and empowering young women to consider pursuing STEAM careers. Taking place at The Garden of Alexandriait will be hosted by On your marks, get set, help meco-hosted by Build momentum (who also donates the space) and with the programs partner Change of pockets.

“I really want to do something to provide that exposure because even if they (the girls) don’t go, at least they get that exposure, that experience to say ‘Okay, I liked that, I didn’t. didn’t like this.’ We give session leaders the freedom to do whatever they want to do, and everything works where they show that different side…but the science is in the beauty, all those other different areas,” said Felicia Johnson, Founder of On your marks, get set, help me. “To see a woman look like you, and that creates the whole visual connection with her and binds her for the rest of her life.”

STEAM 2021 event / photo courtesy of Tanesha Davis of Tenacious Developments

Research has shown that women are much less likely to earn a STEAM degree or pursue a career in STEAM compared to their male counterparts. Women of color are even less likely to find the encouragement they need to pursue STEAM careers. Despite making up half of the workforce, women only hold 26% of jobs in STEAM industries. The upcoming event, Breaking Down the STEAM Door, seeks to fill that gap.

“This STEAM event is one of the near and dear core elements of the organization,” Johnson said. Other Ready, Set, Help projects include connecting with the homeless, providing them with clothing and food so they can survive the winter. Rebuilding neighborhoods and empowering young people are also part of their mission.

A student works on a poster at the STEAM 2021 event / photo courtesy of Tanesha Davis of Tenacious Developments

Students attending will meet diverse women in STEAM careers and learn about the impact of each industry by participating in various hands-on activities with program partners including Pamela Capalad, from Change of pockets. She talks about the “money camps” she used to do which consisted of about ⅔ of boys, citing that parents didn’t tend to send their daughters to the financial literacy camp. She is on a mission to change that mindset, bringing more and more girls into the fold of financial understanding at a young age.

Attendees will experience six breakout sessions, led by dominant women in various STEAM disciplines. Change of pockets will cover topics such as money personalities, spending values, and how to navigate financial systems. Students will also learn five steps to financial resilience. The day consists of three morning sessions, followed by lunch, then a guest speaker Claire Anderson of FOX 5 talk about his career as a meteorologist. The afternoon ends with the last three sessions.

Last year’s event – like this year’s – gave young girls an introduction to welding / photo courtesy of Tanesha Davis of Tenacious Developments

Welding is a session offered within the engineering field, but also crosses over into the science sector.

“Explain the oxidation of metal, how the colors change depending on the gases that are introduced, the mid-course welding which is an argon CO2 gas used to protect your MIG wire… and when you solder you create plasma, the fourth state of matter that is never taught in school. So that explains that you create a star right in front of you, just like how the solar system has stars, as you create your name,” Cheyanne Dwyerdirector of strategy for Build momentum.

STEAM 2021 event empowers women in public speaking

The acronym STEM was changed to STEAM in 2020 to include the Arts, to promote curiosity and creativity at heart. The interesting transformation of the STEAM mission is found here, with the premise that art is linked to STEM studies. Many times, crossovers occur between science, technology, engineering, art, and math affecting everyday life.

Currently there are approximately 50 registrations, but room for more participants is available. Visit On Your Mark, Get Set, Help Register.

About On Your Mark, Get Set, Help — On your marks, get set, help me is a community outreach organization whose mission is to be an agent of change in the community through three platforms: Fighting Homelessness, Empowering Youth and Rebuilding Neighborhoods. This is achieved through community service projects and partnerships with local non-profit organizations.

About Changing Pockets — Change of pockets was founded to create financial literacy programs that are taught in schools, youth organizations and one-on-one with parents and children. PC is on a mission to change the stigma behind talking about money and educate children about financial literacy so they are better equipped for adulthood. Inspiring financial conversations across generations, Pockets Change uses Hip Hop pedagogy to promote youth-led learning and building professional relationships for social impact “to address systemic equity issues in education and racial divide”.

About momentum building — Build momentum is a Veteran and Disabled Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) founded in 2014 by Dr. Albert Vega, Ph.D. and Brad Halsey in direct response to a problem they identified in institutions as diverse as schools, community groups and the military. They saw how institutions are held back by the same organizational structures that keep them in place and wondered, “How do you teach ever-changing technology to people in an extremely fast-changing world while navigating bureaucracies stubborn?” Their response was Building Momentum’s Flagship Innovation Boot Camp, a week-long experience that trains participants to; 3D printing, laser cutting, soldering, CAD, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, GPS, drones, counter-drones, robotics and electronics and more.

[SEE ALSO: Celebrate the Holidays in Alexandria]

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