WHAT IS GIRLS GO DIGITAL?
Girls Go Digital! is program to provide opportunities for girls to learn more about computers, programming, technology and design. We will hold events, workshops and camps for girls with projects tailored for us to learn to apply our unique abilities as women and girls to these areas.
Projects are selected and designed by girls for girls –and presented by women and men who support the endeavor to engage girls in activities that promote greater involvement in engineering and computing.
WHY GIRLS GO DIGITAL?
Girls Go Digital was born out of Rachel Ramsay’s pursuit of an MFA in order to continue to teach at Dixie State University.
The Graduate program was designed in such a way that causes artists to reflect on what drives them to create and how they can contribute to others. During this reflection, Rachel began to wonder what made her the artist, and the person that she is today. In her graduate thesis, Rachel coined the phrase “Positive Disruption”. This phase describe the influences in our lives that cause us to think, grow, and even change for the better. Rachel was able to identify “Positive Disruptions” in her own life the propelled her in a positive direction and had an influence on choices that defined her. One of these disruptions occurred in a High School Yearbook class. Her teacher congratulated her hard work and success, and mentioned that she should become a graphic designer— a career path she had never considered.
In a desire to create those opportunities for the young girls in her own life, she developed the Girls Go Digital program. One of the main goals of Girls Go Digital is to expose girls to STEM subjects, specifically Technology and Computer Science, that they might not naturally choose to explore, due to gender norms or fear of the unknown.
Girls ages 8 to 18 come to camps and learn about computer programming, design, robot programming, e-textiles, micro-controllers, soldering circuit boards and more. It is Rachel’s hope that she might be able to cause a “Positive Disruption” in the lives of the girls who attend. What started in 2013 as an experiment during her thesis research, has grown exponentially in the following years. Girls Go Digital fills a growing need for girls to choose STEM subjects as careers.
HOW AND WHAT NEXT?
Girls Go Digital received its initial funding through a generous grant and the incredible support of the Computer Information Technologies Department at Dixie State University, in St. George, Utah.
In 2013 GGD host a camp with 6 girls. 52 girls attended in 2014. The summer of 2015 added another location at Southern Utah University. The DSU camp hosted 104 girls and the SUU camp hosted 35.
The influence of Girls Go Digital’s activities can be felt beyond summer camp as it has influenced other camps for both boys and girls. It continues to support other activities for youth by partnering with other organizations like 4H to help inspire a generation of young makers and innovators.
Several activities from the camps will be available this fall as classroom kits, complete with lesson plans for applying the principles taught at camp which add natural extensions for the classroom.