In 2020, GDIT made a commitment to increase our funding and volunteerism activity in STEM education in underserved communities. This year, as part of that continuing commitment, we expanded our relationship with long-time partner Girls Who Code (GWC). Through GWC’s Summer Immersion Program (SIP), the organization and its partners provide immersive, engaging virtual mentoring programs to high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors. GDIT was honored to participate and to have our summer mentees join the ranks of the more than 5,100 new GWC SIP graduates – the largest class the program has ever had!
As an organization, GWC is focused on more than just code. It’s working to build the largest pipeline of future female engineers and is on a mission to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a programmer looks like and does.
Doing that, of course, requires learning about teamwork and camaraderie, and building a sense of inclusiveness and accomplishment for everyone involved. The SIP is designed to create avenues for participants to work on projects that provide them with precisely those opportunities.
The program offers insight into what it means to work in the technology field – which is about much more than learning how to code. It’s about how to navigate the workplace, the challenges they’ll face, and what the future of the field looks like. This real-world experience is extremely valuable and unique to the program.
“Students involved in STEM are the future of our company and country. That’s why we support organizations that help to advance STEM education and programming, particularly in underserved communities.”
GDIT Global Chief Information Officer
The GWC SIP model depends heavily on corporate partnerships. GDIT leapt at the opportunity to develop programming for a series of engagement sessions, mentoring workshops and activities covering topics like:
A “Story of My Name” Activity, where participants shared the origins of their names and learned more about one another’s culture.
Social Engineering Scavenger Hunt, where participants learned just how much we can find out about a person on the internet based on public records and their social media activity. This was a true hit, as students were still talking about it at the end of the program!
A mentoring session titled, Managing Your Social Media Presence, with a plenary presentation, followed by small-group breakout discussions with our volunteer mentors.
Another mentoring session titled, An Exploration of Emotional Intelligence, with a plenary presentation and a small-group breakout discussions with our volunteer mentors.
A mentoring session titled, Are You LinkedIn or Linked Out?, with a plenary presentation and a small-group breakout discussions with our volunteer mentors.
Enthusiasm for the program was apparent throughout the company, as more than 70 GDIT team member volunteers, including seven members of our Executive Leadership Team, contributed to the effort.
“Providing opportunities for young girls to ‘see themselves’ in an organization is an important way we can help to keep girls engaged in STEM,” Grinnell continued. “It was incredible to see and hear the excitement and happiness from these young women when they spoke about why they wanted to pursue careers in technology, whether it be coding or something else entirely.”
GDIT’s support for women and girls in STEM is a focus that continues throughout the year. GDIT’s annual Women + Tech event brings together women at different stages of their careers for an inspiring and engaging day that showcases actionable tools, insights, and networking to support career growth and mobility. New for 2021 is an extension of this program to engage young women in their junior and senior year of high school with a Bot-a-Thon hosted by GDIT with partners Deloitte, UiPath and STEM for Her. Students will learn about Robotics Process Automation (RPA) and use those new RPA skills to solve a problem related to Humanitarianism, Cyber Threats, Social Activism and Mental Health. Members of winning teams will receive scholarships for use with school-related costs. The event will take place on October 11th, learn more and register.