The IT Girls – Inspiring Girls in Technology

Your senior year is coming up and it’s been a busy year. As a National Honors Society member, you’ve  maintained a 3.98 GPA while being a cheerleader, Koinonia leader, participant in peer ministry, and assist with the school’s tech support (sound booth, tech installations and troubleshooting). Knowing it’s going to be an eventful senior year, what would you do over the summer? How about plan and implement a technology camp for middle school girls? That’s what CLHS senior Hayley Grisez did this summer.

In early spring, CLHS tech services director and teacher Scott Storm recommended Hayley for the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Award. Hayley earned District Honorable Mention which also made available an entry into NCWIT’s AspireIT program. Thanks to NCWIT, Hayley applied, earned the chance and then won a grant for informational technology and its connection with the social issues of women in the workplace. Hayley’s busy school year was now going to flow into the summer. 

With the partnering of The Lutheran Schools Partnership staff of Alicia Levitt and Mark Muehl and the support of Mr. Storm, Hayley created the curriculum, made a budget, made an entire marketing effort, recruited assistants for the camp, recruited participants, and covered all the details the grant demanded. The result? An excellent week of learning for a full classroom of 24 middle school girls.

What was Hayley’s motivation? “Tech is cool. It’s fun. It’s not nerdy things and I wanted the girls to share that excitement.”

The IT Girls easily got on board with Hayley’s excitement. They learned Scratch coding, programmed Raspberry Pis, explored Java programming and worked with Lego Mindstorm Robots. And while unexpected things can interrupt the best laid lesson plans, Hayley also learned the importance of having back-up plans and not letting the unexpected ruin the day. When the Raspberry Pis took a bit longer to load than what was planned, the group went into an impromptu Dance Party and learned the Cha Cha Slide.

What else did Hayley learn? The week “affirmed my knowledge in the overall field of technology and my enjoyment for  the field. Tech isn’t boring and I had fun all week.”

She also learned how to be a better leader. “Lead but not be a “know-it-all,” is what she shared. Phrase things so you don’t shut the girls down. The week “Helped me understand what good teaching needs to be.” It affirmed for her the effective teaching she has had in her life. Her dad (problem solving), Mr Storm (content from IT classes) and Miss Volmerding from St Peters (teaching strategies) all played roles in a week of fun and learning.

From all of us at TLSP, way to go Hayley.