With only twenty percent of information technology (IT) professionals being women, programs such as “Girls Get IT” offer young women the opportunity to explore the worlds of science, technology, engineering and math. Initiatives through ECPI University in Newport News and Richmond set the stage to introduce the variety and rewarding career choices in the information technology field.
At the Newport News Campus, ECPI University began the Girls Get IT program through a partnership with Cisco Systems. “Technology is constantly changing. Cisco supports schools who are building the pipeline,” says Gena Pirtle, Marketing Program Manager for Cisco Networking Academy. “We want to see more women in the field.”
The program introduces teenage girls from area high schools to women doing amazing things in the IT field. There is also an opportunity to work as teams to solve real-world situations with the assistance from a female industry mentor. “Women are more solution oriented,” said Tony Rufi, who launched the program for ECPI University Newport News. “They see how technology can solve real world problems.”
Richmond launched its program at an event on March 25. On April 1, Newport News welcomed Felishia Ward a Geographic Information System (GIS) Analyst with the City of Durham, North Carolina. She introduced girls from Achievable Dream High School, Phoebus High School, and Surry County Office on Youth to her role as an employee in the solid waste department. She helps to plan logical routes for the refuge collectors.