Tag Archives: Ask Donna

Ask Donna Video: Girls and Robotic Teams

Hi, it’s Donna here with a new *Ask Donna* video blog,

In this week’s video, I advise a school on how to close the leaky pipeline of girls on robotics teams:

This week’s question comes from Vicki Mazur, Math/Computer Science Teacher at Classical Academy:

“Good morning Donna, I am mentoring 3 levels of competitive robotics; elementary, middle school, and high school. The elementary team averages 1/3 girls. The middle school team averages 1/4 girls. The high school team averages 1/5 girls.

While some of this “attrition” results from additional boys joining the teams, some of it is losing girls as other opportunities for extra-curricular activities increase.

This year, the high school team was initiated by 3 girls and 2 of them chose other avenues of afterschool activities. Two other girls replaced them so the final enrollment was 3 girls and 15 boys. The team, as a first-year competitor, placed 10th out of 75 in the region. Even with that success, enrollment for next fall looks to be more boys.

How do I increase attraction to the team when faced with the numerous non-STEM opportunities available to students in middle and high school?”

Watch this latest *Ask Donna* video to hear 4 things you can do to attract girls to STEM opportunities such as these robotics teams!

Then, Talk with Donna 1-on-1 in a Women in STEM & CTE More Information Session: Sign up for a free call to talk with Donna about your college’s STEM/CTE programs and specific challenges.

The *Ask Donna* WomenTech Educators Video Blog: Have questions about how you can see more women and girls in your STEM/CTE courses? Need help overcoming a recruitment or retention challenge specific to your program and school? Now is your chance to get your question answered in a personal video from Donna Milgram—IWITTS Executive Director and developer of the WomenTech Educators Training System—in this new monthly video blog. Answering questions is Donna’s favorite part of providing professional development to help educators move the needle for women in STEM and CTE.

Want Donna to answer your question in the next *Ask Donna* video blog? Donna’s coaching is usually limited to WomenTech Educators Training school teams, so don’t miss this opportunity to *Ask Donna* your questions on broadening participation.

Ask Donna – Submit a Question Now

Stay tuned for a new *Ask Donna* video blog!

*Ask Donna* Video Blog: Making Women Welcome in Lab/Shop Classes

In this video blog, I answer a common retention question about how CTE/STEM educators can help female students feel welcome in lab and shop classes:

Question: “Hi Donna. My question for you is, what advice do you have for teachers to make shop classes and group lab assignments comfortable, respectful and welcoming to women in non-traditional programs?” ~ John Ryan, Vice Principal, Connecticut Technical High School System, Middletown, CT

Want to hear 3 specific retention strategies Donna recommends for CTE/STEM labs and shop classes welcoming to women?

Watch and learn!

Talk with Donna 1-on-1 in a Women in STEM & CTE More Information Session: Sign up for a free call to talk with Donna about your college’s STEM/CTE programs and specific challenges.

The *Ask Donna* WomenTech Educators Video Blog: Have questions about how you can see more women and girls in your STEM/CTE courses? Need help overcoming a recruitment or retention challenge specific to your program and school? Now is your chance to get your question answered in a personal video from Donna Milgram—IWITTS Executive Director and developer of the WomenTech Educators Training System—in this new monthly video blog. Answering questions is Donna’s favorite part of providing professional development to help educators move the needle for women in STEM and CTE.

Want Donna to answer your question in the next *Ask Donna* video blog? Donna’s coaching is usually limited to WomenTech Educators Training school teams, so don’t miss this opportunity to *Ask Donna* your questions on broadening participation.

Ask Donna – Submit a Question Now

Stay tuned for a new *Ask Donna* video blog!

Ask Donna: New Video Blog and Contest Winners

In this video blog, I answer a great question from the first of the 3 winners of last month’s *Ask Donna* Video Blog Contest:

First of 3 Winning Questions: “How can I overcome the machismo? I am in beautiful South Texas! We have a very strong Hispanic culture in our area. I have a lot of young ladies who come to my demo-days and say this is what I want to do, but then they go home and tell Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, and get told women don’t do that type of work and that’s the end of it. Out of 2,500 ladies I have talked to, only 1 has completed my millwright program. She graduates this Friday and will be making close to $32 an hour! She just turned 21.” ~ Dan Anderson, Faculty, Millwright Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas

Want to hear the specific recruitment strategies I recommend for overcoming recruitment roadblocks like this? You won’t want to miss this video!

Watch my video blog to learn how a few changes to existing recruitment events can make all the different in recruiting female students to STEM and CTE programs such as Dan’s millwright program.

In this video, I also congratulate all 3 winners of my *Ask Donna* Video Blog Contest who asked the 3 best questions:

  • Dan Anderson, Faculty, Millwright Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, Del Mar College, Corpus Christi, Texas
  • Vicki Mazur, Teacher, Math/Computer Science, Classical Academy Online, San Diego, California
  • George Karnbauer, Instructor, Computer Networking, Forbes Road – Career & Technology Center, Pennsylvania

Congratulations to all 3 winners of our Unlimited Potential female role model posters! I can’t wait to answer the questions from our next 2 winners in my next video blogs.

Talk with Donna 1-on-1 in a Women in STEM & CTE More Information Session: Sign up for a free call to talk with Donna about your college’s STEM/CTE programs and specific challenges.

The *Ask Donna* WomenTech Educators Video Blog: Have questions about how you can see more women and girls in your STEM/CTE courses? Need help overcoming a recruitment or retention challenge specific to your program and school? Now is your chance to get your question answered in a personal video from Donna Milgram—IWITTS Executive Director and developer of the WomenTech Educators Training System—in this new monthly video blog. Answering questions is Donna’s favorite part of providing professional development to help educators move the needle for women in STEM and CTE.

Want Donna to answer your question in the next *Ask Donna* video blog? Donna’s coaching is usually limited to WomenTech Educators Training school teams, so don’t miss this opportunity to *Ask Donna* your questions on broadening participation.

Ask Donna – Submit a Question Now

Stay tuned for a new *Ask Donna* video blog each month! Next month I’ll be answering Question #2 from the *Ask Donna* contest.

Question/Answer: How Do We Improve Computer Science’s Image?

question markSee Wechie’s Comment of 8/21: There seems to be hundreds of separate initiatives to encourage girls to study computer science but there remains an image problem. How can we get an industry wide campaign going to improve the image of computing?

Yes, Wechie you are correct, there is a huge image problem. American Association of University Women’s Study, Tech Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age (2000) which you can download for free, documents the image problem among girls and many other studies have gone on to replicate these findings.

I would like to see one of the major computer giants – such as Apple or Electronic Arts – use their marketing savvy and department to team with a nonprofit (such as us) to develop a multi-media marketing campaign (YouTube, facebook, TV commercials, Posters) that could create a more positive image of computer science for women and girls (and men!).

Of course, we also advocate that schools help to change the image by showing female role models in posters and career videos — our womentechstore has many resources to help with this. I’ve personally previewed the videos we have and they are extremely well done. (Shameless plug). Now if we could combine this with a national campaign by industry leaders this could be the push that’s needed.

Question/Answer:What To Do When A Woman is Blocked by a Woman

On 8/27, Mcauly asks what should she do when she’s blocked by another woman? question markJulia Child actually gives us some guidance on what to do when as a woman you are blocked by another woman. (See my earlier post of 8/20).  Essentially the same thing you would do if you were blocked by a man. 1) She uses politically savvy – by referencing her ally in power (the ambassador); 2) she persists by insisting she be given the test and by asking to be given it again when it is designed for her to fail; 3) she over prepares and studies long, long hours – determined to pass; 4) she does not take it personally.

She reminds me of the first women entering firefighting and what they went through. Is it fair, no? However, there are important lessons to be learned from those pioneers like Julia who refuse to fail. To summarize: have good political skills, persist, over prepare, don’t take things personally.

Readers, do you have strategies you’ve used successfully that you’d like to share? Please comment.

Ask Donna Advice Column Launched! Send Your Questions.

Donna MilgramHave a question on recruiting and retaining women and girls in technology that you want to ask me? Now’s your chance, today I am launching a “Dear Donna” advice column except it will be about gender equity questions.  Send your questions to me via this link. Make sure to include “Ask Donna” in the subject line. This should be fun!

Do you know that I read “Dear Abby” faithfully every morning in the San Francisco Chronicle and now I am going to have an advice column of my own!!! I’m so excited, so fire away with those questions, the more difficult the better readers. :-)