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What I’ve Learned from Being Part of the STEM for Her Community

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As a high school senior interested in technology, I have faced the gender gap many more times than most would expect. From international math camps in middle school to my high school robotics team, I've experienced the imbalance in participation in technology first-hand. As I researched the problem, I realized that upper elementary and middle school girls needed mentorship, workshops, and events to network with one another to be inspired to pursue technology. To tackle this problem, I started my non-profit, SheSoft, with the intent of giving girls the foothold in technology and support network needed to stay with technology throughout their academic career.

When I first started my non-profit in the freshman year of high school, one of the first things I learned was I personally needed mentorship and resources to support the SheSoft Conference, an event that in the past has attracted 200+ girls nationwide and this year will be virtual. Thankfully, around that time I was introduced to the STEM for Her community, through which I worked closely with a mentor from STEM for Her to plan and conduct my conference.

STEM for Her continues to relentlessly support my organization and me in a countless number of ways. Aside from funding my efforts, they have connected me with astounding women thrilled to be keynote speakers and panelists, dedicated volunteers, and other like-minded high school girls. They gave me the resources necessary to support our activities for underrepresented and underprivileged girls from the DC community, including sharing technology career paraphernalia and sending women leaders to inspire the girls. I have been able to engage many girls in technology, in turn learning valuable entrepreneurship and technology skills.

Moreover, through the community, I have been surrounded with resilient, enthusiastic, and passionate women who have shown me the qualities of effective leaders, technologists, innovators, and beyond. I am exceptionally grateful to this community for empowering me throughout my high school career, and I know that I will continue to learn from and engage with the STEM for Her community for the rest of my life.

Kirthi Kumar
Founder SheSoft
Senior and Aspiring STEM Student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

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