Google promotes girl power

February 19, 2009 5:52:39 PM PST
The Internet giant Google is trying to get more women interested in computer science engineering, at an early age. Thursday they partnered with the Girl Scouts of Northern California for some workshops at Google headquarters in Mountain View.

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It was their gender, not their age, that made them stand out. Google invited 87 young ladies from the East Bay, ages 12 to 15, to learn more about engineering, a field where women number one in six.

"Most of the people, they don't think women can become engineers. They mostly think that's a man's job," said 12-year-old Chanita Kirkwood who plans to change that.

A team of Google's women engineers engaged the middle school students with hands-on exercises that included making miniature solar-powered cars.

Google has been doing this for five years. It is part of an effort to broaden diversity and talent in the workforce.

The women engineers at Google say many of them had parents or friends who served as role models and advisors, and now they, too, are serving that role for a new generation of young ladies who might otherwise not have that opportunity.

Many of the students participate in an after school technology program organized by the Girl Scouts of Northern California.

"They get an image of computer science from TV and movies that they're hacking in their parents' basement, it's dark, it's dirty, and it's so different here that I hope that they'll see it's fun, it's collaborative," said Google software engineer Danielle VanDyke.

While it's fun to work with computers, engineering requires good grades.

Ny'Jhamiere Kimble wants to be an automotive engineer.

"I'm good in math, but not so good in science," said Kimble. So in order to become an engineer, she plans to "study more science and get good grades in science, and keep up the good work in math."

Did Google have an impact? We asked the young ladies if they want to become engineers. Almost all raised their arms.

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