Sponsored by the Microsoft Corporation, DigiGirlz is a free technology program for female middle school and high school students. The goal is to provide girls and young women with the opportunity to connect with Microsoft employees and learn about careers in technology. To this end, it offers two core experiences: DigiGirlz Day and the DigiGirlz High Tech Camp. In this article, we take a closer look at Microsoft DigiGirlz and how it has inspired young women around the world to pursue careers in the tech sector.
Microsoft DigiGirlz Day
The Microsoft DigiGirlz Day enables female students to enhance their understanding of what it is like to work in tech by participating in hands-on technology and computer workshops. The one-day event offers students an opportunity to interact with Microsoft managers and employees, allowing them to gain insight into the organization’s operations. Through DigiGirlz Day, attendees gain greater exposure to careers in the high-tech industry and business. In addition, they learn more about the numerous career opportunities available in the STEM field. The event provides girls with thought-provoking exercises, career-planning assistance, and information about business and technology roles. Students can also observe Microsoft product demonstrations.
DigiGirlz High Tech Camp
Spanning multiple days, the DigiGirlz High Tech Camp provides female high school students with in-depth insight into what it is like to work in the tech industry. The camp seeks to eliminate stereotypes within the high-tech sector by providing young women with engaging activities and an improved understanding of the industry. Open to students of all skill levels, the camp enables those who have previously taken tech classes at their school to gain additional exposure to new technologies.
Camp organizers continue to seek out new opportunities to inspire young women and provide them with valuable experiences that will give them insight into what it is like to develop cutting-edge technology that could potentially improve the lives of millions of people.
Throughout the DigiGirlz High Tech Camp, Microsoft presents talks from executive speakers, in addition to providing girls with the opportunity to network, participate in demonstrations and tours, and learn through hands-on workshops. The workshops are overseen by supportive instructors and enable attendees to expand their tech capabilities.
Inspiring Students to Pursue STEM-Based Careers
DigiGirlz’s camps are held only during the daytime, and times may vary by location. Those students who wish to attend the camp but who do not live in the host cities are welcome to register, but their families must arrange and pay for their lodging and transportation.
Since its inception in 2000, DigiGirlz High Tech Camp has continued to grow and evolve while inspiring the next generation of businesswomen and female tech specialists.
DigiGirlz offers a comprehensive calendar of High Tech Camps and DigiGirlz Days events in numerous countries, including Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Estonia, Egypt, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The programs are free of charge. Attendees with special dietary requirements or other special needs will have an opportunity to consult with an event-planning team.
DigiGirlz Event in the UK
On May 20, 2019, Microsoft’s office in Paddington, London, hosted a DigiGirlz event that was attended by female students from across the United Kingdom with the goal of inspiring them to pursue STEM-based careers. It opened with an engaging talk from Microsoft UK chief executive officer Cindy Rose OBE, who reflected on how past industrial revolutions have impacted the way that people live and work today. Eva D’onofrio, a Microsoft employee, then gave a speech that explained how she developed an interest in tech and the beginnings of her career with Microsoft.
Participants were split into teams of four for the “Maker Challenge” later that morning. Each group was tasked with creating an item to improve the lives of individuals with an impairment or disability, and they pitched their idea to a judging panel after lunch. A number of creative ideas were put forward.
Afterwards, the girls learned how Microsoft teams work on different projects, such as Paint 3D. Students were instructed to draw three-dimensional pizzas using Paint 3D and were able to see how their design blended into the real world through augmented reality. Microsoft staff then showed them SwiftKey, a project that utilizes artificial intelligence to predict what an individual might type next on a keyboard. Finally, the students were introduced to the HoloLens project, which involves mixed reality headsets that project computer-generated holograms into real-world environments.
Maker Challenge winners were announced at the end of the day. The DigiGirlz event closed with the participating students pledging to consider a career in the STEM field in the future.
In the UK, women comprise less than 15 percent of the nation’s STEM workforce. Initiatives such as DigiGirlz can play a vital role in inspiring women to pursue STEM-based careers not only in the UK, but around the world.