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April 1, 2005

Girl Power vs. the Gender Gap: April 9 at UMBC

Soccer Star Brandi Chastain Leads Hundreds of Middle School Girls, Parents, Teachers, in day of fun, hands-on, high-tech

Women's soccer icon Brandi Chastain takes aim at the technology gender gap instead of Olympic gold as she joins hundreds of middle-school girls, parents and teachers from across Maryland for Computer Mania Day at UMBC on April 9.

Best known for her championship-winning goal on a penalty kick in the 1999 Women's World Cup, Chastain brings a "you can do anything," girl-power message to Computer Mania Day at UMBC, an annual day of free, hands-on, high-tech, fun activities for adults and kids.

Sponsored by UMBC's Center for Women and Information Technology (CWIT), the half-day event helps to get girls interested in technology and computing careers while teaching parents and teachers ways to sharpen their own computer skills. While boys are welcome, the focus is on girls because of their continuing under-representation in science, technology, engineering and math.

Research shows that the information technology (IT) gender gap opens as early as the middle school years, when girls are most image-conscious and do not want to be labeled as "geeks" or "nerds." Girls also make up only 14 percent of Advanced Placement students in computer science, a key to success in IT-related fields at the college level.

Computer Mania Day offers free, fun, hands-on activities for kids and adults plus free lunch and the chance to meet Chastain. Workshops are led by positive female role models from UMBC along with business, government and education leaders.

Girls' events highlights include "Hardware Rocks," digital art and imaging, and the physics of do-it-yourself hot air balloons. Adult workshop highlights include how to prepare your kids for college, "Computers 101," and "Cyber Safety: Keeping Your Child Protected Online."

Posted by crose at April 1, 2005 1:23 PM