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Empowering Girls for Technology

The St. Pölten UAS knows: the world needs female role models in the STEM sector. Why? Because they encourage girls to choose technical professions

Empowering Girls for Technology
Frauen in die Technik (women in engineering, FIT)
Copyright: sprungbrett/B.Gradwohl

Frauen in die Technik (women in engineering, FIT) – just recently, the St. Pölten UAS was actively involved in two event formats once again that were designed to show girls and young women that engineering, computer science and digital technologies are no longer purely male domains.

At the end of January, Marlies Temper, Academic Director of Data Science and Business Analytics, and UAS lecturer Kerstin Blumenstein acted as role models and contact persons for all kinds of questions at the SMS Lounge within the framework of the FIT Information Days 2020 at UAS Technikum Wien, and in the initiative "Tagebuch der Informatikerin" (the female computer scientist’s diary).

“What my colleague and I try to do whenever we enter into conversation with young women and students at such events is to make them curious and awaken their interest”, explains Kerstin Blumenstein. “It is all about showing them the possibilities that the STEM sector has to offer and how valuable their skills are in these technical domains unfortunately still dominated by men. We outline various career prospects and encourage the girls to go their own way and experiment with their interests and skills.”

Getting in Touch via Text Message

Together with three more female engineers from the MINT sector, Kerstin Blumenstein took part in the SMS Lounge, a popular highlight of the FIT programme organised by the association sprungbrett. What makes this format particularly interesting for many young women is that they can ask the experts their questions directly via text message.

Kerstin Blumenstein was very pleased with the lively interest of the approximately 200 participants: “Everyone actively used this opportunity from the beginning.” The questions covered everything from the female engineers’ personal training and career paths, through the everyday working life in research and teaching, to the reconciliation of family and work, and the treatment of men and women in natural sciences and engineering.

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Furthermore, a general information stand of the St. Pölten UAS offered the participants detailed information on the versatile range of study programmes in the fields of computer science and digital technologies.

Getting in Touch with Female Computer Scientists

Within the framework of the initiative “Tagebuch der Informatikerin”, Marlies Temper hosted a 45-minute workshop at the BRG Kremszeile in Krems on 29 January where she talked to girls aged 13 to 15 about motivations and challenges in connection with computer science.

One of the most interesting things about this format: the young students have the opportunity to talk to female role models, researchers and practitioners of informatics in a friendly atmosphere. They benefit from first-hand accounts of the motivations and successes as well as the challenges encountered by established computer scientists during their studies and professional life.

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The workshop character of the event also allows the girls to familiarise themselves with computer sciences tools and get to know potential future mentors and role models in the field of informatics.

“If you are trying to fill girls and young women with enthusiasm for engineering and computer science as well as corresponding studies and careers, it is essential to give this target group the chance to gain their own positive experiences in the STEM sector and to meet their role models eye to eye”, emphasises Marlies Temper who is a strong advocate of such formats.

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