EX.I.T.E.ing times

Today was the last day of the Exploring Interests in Technology and Engineering (EX.I.T.E.) Camp at IBM Hursley.  We’ve now run 6 of these events at Hursley which are aimed at encouraging girls, aged 12-13, into science, maths and technology and I feel proud to have made a difference to the girls over the years. 

Having been on the core organising team from the first camp, it is really interesting to see how it has developed over the years.  This year was the first year that I haven’t been so involved, so when I went along to the poster session today to see some of the girls work it was lovely to hear their enthusiasm and interest as they shared with me what they had been doing and the inventions they had come up with during the week.

During the week the girls are involved in lots of different activities – building and testing rollercoaster designs out of cardboard, project managing and planning a project for a zoo, programming robots to battle each other with, coming up with some new inventions and taking their ideas through to design, marketing and presentations…the list goes on.  One thing is certain and that is there is something that appeals to everyone and the confidence and enthusiasm of the girls grows throughout the week along with the noise levels!

Following the EX.I.T.E. camps there is a year of one-to-one mentoring where the girls are paired with us IBMers.  It is great to see them develop throughout the year, help encourage them and hear their thoughts and ideas.  One of the things that I find personally so rewarding is being able to tell them all about the different job opportunities that there are out there waiting for them.  When we ask them at the beginning of the year what they might be interested in doing in the future many of their answers either relate to job roles of people they know – parents for example – or more fantasy jobs like being a pop star!  By the end of the year, they have so many more ideas and a better understanding of what might be possible.  I remember when I was their age filling out careers questionnaires at school, but the results always came out with more traditional jobs like accountant, doctor, secretary which didn’t really expose me to any new ideas.

I really look forward to the forthcoming year, and helping my mentee this year, Kate, to develop her ideas and skills.  She is really keen on IT and I hope that I can grow her passion for the subject.


One Response to “EX.I.T.E.ing times”

  1. Women in Games 2008 « Helena’s Blog Says:

    […] view on technology, and the impact that these programmes has made on them.  I focussed on our EX.I.T.E (Exploring Interests in Technology and Engineering) Camp programme and as it was a games conference […]

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