Each year we bring together students from across the GDST family for our annual Techathon event: a day dedicated to the discovery of and engagement with technology outside of the classroom; to cross-school collaboration; to exposure to real models who can encourage and inspire our students to broaden their tech horizons.
This year, we’ve adapted our flagship event to make it virtual, but we are nonetheless proud to expose our students in Year 10 and above to a stunning range of inspirational women in our Techathon Real Models initiative.
Over the coming months, students will be able to access a series of personal stories from a range of women working in tech, who will share their own experiences, lessons learnt and advice, to support and educate girls to consider a degree and career in Computer Science.
Amy Icke, Online Learning and Innovation Manager in the GDST Innovation & Learning Team, is running the initiative.
“I am really excited to share the stories of these women with our girls as they consider their own careers,” she says. “Employers are struggling to fill over 40 per cent of jobs in the STEM sector and working with young people to build the talent pipeline is vitally important.”
Since this year’s Techathon speakers come from a variety of different backgrounds and professional experiences, we are confident that there will be a speaker to inspire every girl who watches. Techathon stories will be shared with GDST students online in an on-demand format, and students will learn that studying Computer Science can lead to careers as entrepreneurs, designers and coders amongst other roles.
Joana Baptista, Oxford High School alumna, University of Oxford student, activist, social entrepreneur and founder of She Dot, is one of our collaborators on Techathon Real Models. She told us what motivated her to become involved:
“Having been a part of the GDST family since the age of four, I have come to appreciate the significant impact my education at GDST schools has had on me as a person, a student and as a leader. Without the care, support and encouragement of my teachers I am certain I would not be where I am today studying a degree I love at a top university whilst being able to pursue my passions for social entrepreneurship and activism.”
With the GDST’s pioneering approach to girls’ education, we have long bucked the trend when it comes to girls studying STEM, and we are proud that 62 per cent of our sixth formers across our family of schools study at least one STEM subject at A-level. “I’m glad now to have the opportunity to ‘pay it forward’ to current GDST students by illustrating how I was able to break through in a male-dominated industry,” says Joana. “If I can hopefully inspire even just one of them to step outside their comfort zone and pursue a passion they thought wasn’t ‘for them’, I will be happy.”