ChickTech: High School

ChickTech: High School is a year-long series of opportunities for local and online cohorts of girls and non-binary youth, providing hands-on workshops, mentoring, and internship connections. It supplements traditional education and provides a supportive community for youth of marginalized genders to learn how to create technology.

All of our high school workshops are hands-on so that participants come out of each with a sense of accomplishment and a burst of confidence. They remain engaged and learning through monthly workshops throughout the year. By increasing our participants’ self-confidence and interest in technology, we increase the number of girls and non-binary youth who aspire to technology careers. This important work is shaping the workforce of tomorrow to have the diverse skills and perspectives needed for the industry to thrive.

ChickTech High School: Virtual

Soon after the onset of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, ChickTech shifted high school programming into an online space for the safety and well being of students, volunteers, and community members. ChickTech: High School will continue to offer virtual hands-on workshops and group mentorship opportunities for students online—we look forward to resuming in-person events and workshops when it is safe to do so!

Year-long programming began in November 2020 with monthly technical workshops and mentorship opportunities, which culminates in a year-end conference on June 26-27, 2021 to celebrate our high school participants and their accomplishments. Contact Kerstin Motsch-Reiter if you are interested in attending!

Whether you’re looking to explore new tech and STEM subjects, get involved with hands-on projects, or you’re interested in meeting STEM mentors and learning about career paths there’s something in our virtual programming for you! Students who identify as non-binary or female can email Kerstin Motsch-Reiter to learn more about getting involved.

If you are interested in volunteering for ChickTech’s Virtual High School program by leading a workshop or being a group mentor you can do that here.

What makes our program different?

Many young women do not reach their potential in STEM because they thought it was too difficult—or did not have role models in the field. A crucial aspect of our program is finding young women and non-binary students who would not otherwise have thought of themselves as capable of succeeding in a high tech career. We focus on recruiting youth who do not see themselves as technical but who have the aptitude to do very well in technical fields.

By asking educators, parents, and friends to hand-select our participants, we are giving our youth a vote of confidence: people who know them and recognize their abilities have nominated them for this exclusive opportunity! We place additional emphasis on recruiting BIPOC (Black and Indigenous people of color), at-risk, and low-income youth. Our program is free to participants; transportation assistance and food are provided at all of our events, and child-care stipends are also available for teen parents.

Workshops

Below are some examples of workshops led by our ChickTech: High School volunteers.

Robotics

In this workshop, participants learn how a sophisticated robot is built and programmed – while building and programming their own at your own pace! Participants learn how to write a program to make their robot move in simple or complex patterns, to sense and avoid obstacles, to flash LEDs either at random, in sequences, or as an indication of the control process.

And the best part, after the workshop concludes, the students get to take their finished robot home!

Soft Circuits

By teaming up with professional engineers and using a Lilypad Arduino microcontroller, participants will transform a tote bag into an engineering marvel with some high-tech bling! Participants will learn programming and soldering basics to design, create, and program electronics that can sense inputs such as touch or light, and respond with outputs like sound or LEDs.

Smartphone App

There really is an app for everything! Apps to help you buy your groceries, check Facebook, read the news, play games, listen to music, and an endless amount of other things. Apps are really simple to make, and you can use your own creative idea to even come up with the next big thing! In this workshop, participants learn App Inventor, a program to create apps for Android phones – have a really fun weekend learning to build very own app!

3D Printing

Have you heard all the rage about 3D printing? From printing prosthetic arms to replacement hearts to fun toys, 3D printing has many applications in the real world. In our 3d Printing Workshop, participants will get a taste of what it’s like to design and print their own 3D object which they then get to take home to enjoy!

Austin 2017 High School Kickoff. Photo by Liz Lass.