Florida Distance Learning Consortium
Girls Get IT! Newsletter Volume II Issue VIV
April 2008
In This Issue
:: Funding For STEM Partnerships is COMING SOON!
:: Cisco Academy Success Story: Sarah Howe
:: Technology Counts 2008 results are in!
:: Visit Girls Get IT!!
:: Engineer Your Life
:: Technology Touches Base with Teenage Girls
:: STEM Mini-Grants & Program Directory
:: Cool Career: Agrono-What?!
:: Me, Myself and I
:: NEW Useful Links for Teachers, Students, & Parents!!
                                           Explore ~ Educate ~ Empower

Funding for STEM Partnerships is COMING SOON!


We are pleased to announce that Mini Grants will soon be awarded to the selected applicants from the 25 organizations who recently applied. The number of collaborations between community based organizations was quite impressive, and the quality of the proposals has been so outstanding that it has been very difficult to turn anyone away.


The review team is completing their evaluations this week, and by May funds will be distributed to the winning community organizations. Several members of the review team made comments about the need for additional dollars to fund more of these exceptional ideas and programs. To address the need for funding, Girls Get IT! and our partners have decided to look to other foundations for additional money.


Of the selected applicants, many of these groups will be using the funding to create exciting STEM summer programs. To find out more about these programs, and their proximity to you, please visit the Girls Get IT! website.


We are also proud to announce that Florida not only received the highest number of mini grant submissions in the nation, but we have also surpassed all other states in the National Girls Collaborative network, having the largest STEM Program Directory in the country!  Visit the directory at the link below to find a girl serving organization in your area.


** We would love to keep the directory growing, and see many more community collaborations in the future, so please sign up your organization today! To do so, Click Here!

Cisco Academy Success Story - Sarah Howe


Florida Quality CountsSara Howe is "living a dream."  After taking the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) course she received a full scholarship to complete her bachelor's degree in telecommunications at State University of New York (SUNY) Institute of Technology.  She is now pursuing her master's degree at SUNY while working in Manhattan as an IT design engineer at a technical consulting firm.


In 2002, while attending high school, she began taking the Cisco Networking Academy through a vocational technology program at BOCES where her mother worked.  Sara was one of only a few girls to take the course. The friendships with her classmates continue to be strong today.  "We were all there for the same reason:  we wanted to learn the latest technology." Sara says dedicating two-and-a-half hours each day to a single course helped her absorb the Cisco material and laid a foundation of knowledge that she has benefited from ever since. 


In high school, Sara participated in the Vocational Industries Club of America (VICA) regional and state competitions and won a Gold Medal in the internetworking contest.  In addition, she took on an internship at the BOCES administrative center where she had the opportunity to shadow the IT Director in the data center.  Sara graduated high school in 2003 and that same year accepted a full scholarship to study fiber optics at SUNY.  By 2007, she had completed her bachelor's degree in telecommunications. 


In 2007, after working as a summer intern at AKF Technologies, Sara was hired by the company full time as a design engineer.  "I mostly design IT/security/audiovisual systems for our clients as well as put together the specifications to go with the drawings and proposals. This requires coordination with all disciplines within our office and compliance with our clients' wishes. In addition, I'm involved in the interviewing process for staffing our other 5 offices."  Sara says every day she applies what she learned in the Cisco Networking Academy to her current role.  "In my line of work, I often have to design to Cisco standards, making my knowledge from the academy valuable to my employer."

Sara plans to receive her master's degree in telecommunications and someday own her own technology consulting firm. For more information on Erie 1 BOCES, Click Here!


Technology Counts 2008

florida computer

The results of Technology Counts 2008 are in; and the findings of Education Week's annual report on educational technology show that though states have increased their expectations for education in the STEM fields, their efforts have yet to yield top-notch performance in those subject areas.


Florida's scores, however, rank above the national average. The Sunshine State received grades of B-, A-, and B in the categories of access to technology, use of technology, and capacity to use technology, respectively. The national averages for those categories were C, B-, and C. Florida was awarded 85.4 total points, making its overall grade a B, and ranking it among the top 15 in the nation. The average state only received 76.9 points, or a grade of C+. Having said this, we still need more young women taking computer science and other technology classes in high school and college.  With the technology job market expanding rapidly here in Florida, the need for highly trained workers continues to increase.


The scores for the individual states were obtained through an annual policy survey conducted by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. Respondents to the survey provided information on policy indicators related to educational technology and competencies of students and educators. Every state's response was carefully verified using additional evidence provided by the state, such as documentation describing a state statute or administrative rule.


Florida's continued improvement in education was displayed in the Quality Counts 2008 as well. The state surpassed the national average of a C (75.2) with a C+ (79.2), ranking 14th in the nation. Out of 48 states, Florida ranked in the top 10 for recent improvements in 4th and 8th grade reading and math achievement. Florida also ranked above the national average, with an A- on the policy indicators assessment, which measures academic standards and testing techniques. In addition, the state ranked 12th in early childhood education and postsecondary education transitions.


For more information on Technology Counts 2008, Click Here!


To visit GGIT! please click here

engineer logo

When it comes to choosing a career, many girls don't even remotely consider becoming an engineer. They don't know what it takes to become an engineer, what they can actually do as an engineer, and the endless opportunities that are available for engineers. Engineer Your Life is a national initiative that inspires college-bound high school girls to integrate engineering into their future studies and careers. The goal of this initiative is to show girls that engineering opens up a whole world of possibilities, allowing girls to fulfill their dreams and make an impact on the world.


One thing girls need to know: engineering isn't all about bridge building! Engineer Your Life is dedicating to informing girls that there are many different routes an engineer can take. As an aerospace engineer, a girl can develop rockets that collect comet samples. An environmental engineer can create new ways to restore wetlands. An electronic engineer may be responsible for creating special effects in a movie. The possibilities are endless! If a girl can dream it, as an engineer she can do it.


Engineer Your Life wants to make sure that girls know what steps they need to take to become a successful engineer. Along with keeping up with math and science classes and performing well on college entrance exams, there are plenty of ways to prepare for a life in engineering. Getting involved in after-school and summer programs that focus on engineering is a great way to learn more about the field. Girls can also apply for jobs and internships to gain valuable experience in the field.


The Engineer Your Life website features a wealth of information and resources for high school girls and the adults in their lives who want to learn more about what life and work are like for engineers. To check it out, Click Here!

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Technology Touches Base with Teenage Girls

Florida Quality Counts

With social networks like Facebook and Myspace flourishing, content creation on the internet continues to grow, notably from more teenagers than ever before. In a recent report put out by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, researchers found that 64% of teens, ages 12 to 17, engage regularly in at least one type of content creation. With girls dominating most areas!


"Content," as defined in the study, is anything from photos and artwork, to web pages and blogs, and even videos.  But content creation is not just about personal creative output; it thrives on conversations fueled by that content. Though female domination is clear in the majority of telecommunications, girls use the internet more for education and communication than anything else, which might explain why more girls partake in content creation than boys.  


The Pew Internet report also discusses a new group of teens they label as "multi-channel" teens. These teenagers are viewed as super-communicators, using more than one technological option for dealing with family and friends, including: landline phones, cell phones, text messaging, social network sites, instant messaging, and email. A surprising 28% of teens are represented in this group, which is composed mostly of older girls.


Regardless of the numbers, many girls do not see technology as a part of their career future, only a communication and education tool. The computer culture continues to be viewed by girls as male dominated and boring, which does little to interest women in joining the field. Findings from a 2000 report of the American Association of University Women on girls in technology found that girls were not "techno-phobic," rather; they did not like the computer culture.


Maybe the web is just the place to engage teenage girls in the field of technology. An overwhelming number of them are already logged on and listening.


"That's why we do what we do here at Girls Get IT!.  We ensure that young women today can use technology in a way that expands their knowledge and understanding and, hopefully, if we do our job correctly, ignites their curiosity even more - we want women that aren't only consumers of technology but innovators" said Leah Cook, Project Director of GGIT!.


To view the complete report done by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, "Teens and Social Media," Click Here!

Florida Girls Collaborative STEM Mini-Grants and Program Directory

Do you have a collaborative idea within STEM education and need some additional funds to assist you? If so, join our team and receive up to $1,000 for your support. All you have to do is sign up to become part of our statewide Program Directory, and collaborate with another organization that is also in the Program Directory. It's that easy! To sign up, follow the short instructions below and be on your way to making connections you never thought you would!
For a more in depth overview of our mini-grants, Click Here!
The online Florida STEM Program Directory lists organizations and programs that focus on motivating girls to pursue education and careers in
science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The purpose of the directory is to help organizations and individuals network, share resources and collaborate on STEM-related projects for girls. 
Organizations that serve young women and are interested in bringing more STEM resources to them are also encouraged to sign up!
The Directory contains program descriptions, resources available within each organization, program and/or organization needs, and contact information.  What better way to promote your program, resources and find other organizations in your area to collaborate with?

Having Your Program Listed in the Directory Has Several Advantages:

  1. Anyone with Internet access can find out about your program.
  2. You can view other programs in your area and across the state.
  3. Your organization can do a search and compare needs and resources in your area and across the state.
  4. Your organization is eligible for a mini-grant for innovative projects.

Don't wait - Sign up today! 

Here's How:

 Use the following instructions to create a new user account and then enter a program's information into the NGCP program directory.

  • Click Here!!
  • Click "Register New User" which is located on the far left.
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"
  • On the next page, click "New Program"
  • Fill out the form and click "Submit"

That's It!  Your program will be listed and can be searched by anyone with access to the Internet.  It's that easy!


Once a new program's information has been submitted and approved,  it will appear in the public Directory for anyone to search. 


What better way to highlight the great work in STEM that you are doing in your community!



In order to be eligible for mini grant funding, your program MUST be listed in the Program Directory.  Once listed, you are encouraged to submit a proposal for consideration of funding. 

Cool Career: Agrono-What?!

Florida Quality Counts

Agronomist. Sounds like a Harry Potter character, but the truth is, it is a scientist that studies the production and utilization of plants. Agronomy is a career that focuses on turning plants into our three F's: food, fuel and fiber. These scientists also have a huge impact on finding biofuels to prevent global warming.


Agronomists study characteristics that will allow plants to be more productive and resistant to disease.  The newest work aid to agronomists is nanotechnology-a molecular manufacturer that provides faster and more effective ways of testing food products for contamination. New technology keeps the industry more efficient and your grocery stores full of veggies!


Biotechnologists and chemists work with Agronomists to increase the production of biofuels. Biofuels are a renewable fuel that is derived from biological matter, for example: turning crops into energy sources. Using energy sources other than fossil fuel is important because of the limited amount of these fuels available. In addition, when fossil fuel is burned it contributes to global warming, acid rain, and smog-all negative effects to our environment.


Agronomists and soil scientists' jobs are growing every year. They can work in a variety of fields such as governments programs, including U.S. Department of Agriculture, educational services, commercial research, and food production. There are also a number of educational options available to agronomists and crop scientist at the University level, including Graduate and Doctoral programs, which are highly encouraged for promotion in the industry. Surprisingly, an agricultural scientist can earn up to $100,000 a year.


Agronomy provides variety to the everyday scientist. With a combination of sciences such as chemistry, biology, ecology, earth science, and genetics, it is guaranteed to provide a fulfilling and ever changing work environment. For more information on Agronomists, how they prevent global warming and more opportunities in this industry, Click Here!

Survive the Summer & Promote STEM Activities for Kids

The need for quality instruction in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines in out of school settings is well known however, many instructors are intimidated to integrate thes subjects in their programs.  To fill the need for quality instruction, the Children's Forum has designed a series of mini-conferences titled "Survive the Summer" that offer after-school and out of school time professionals a wide range of training options. This partnership helps state education agencies and local practitioners develop high-quality, balanced programs that provide a safe and fun environment for academic enrichment as well as youth development activities. Girls Get IT! Project Director, Leah Cook, will be presenting at both North and South Florida conferences, located in Tallahassee (May 3rd) and Miami (May 10th) respectively. For more information on one of the largest after school conferences in the nation, Click Here!

Me, Myself and I

The competition for career advancements can be a brutal game, especially for women in the IT world. Me, Myself and I written by Esther Schindler in CIO Magazine gives women four tips which encourage them to take chare of their career. Although it does require reaching out of your comfort zone, it will guarantee to build your character and reputation in your work place!


The key to being recognized by your coworkers and executives is to volunteer for visible assignments.  Women need to build their own career momentum by taking on projects that will enhance not only their career but their customer relationships. By volunteering to help customers you are establishing trust which is a key factor in your reputation. Elizabeth Austin, vice president of IT Operations and Infrastructure at Family Dollar, states that her openness to new challenges offered her a variety of roles with each of her employers.


"To be noticed, you have to walk outside the data center".  Traditionally, IT staff is known to work behind the scenes; however this article encourages you to reach outside IT. By building relationships with those outside of IT department will broaden your view of company goals, strategy and culture. It will show others your versatility and willingness to do what it takes to get a job done. You should also be sure to build relationships in multiple departments and on all levels to further your career.


Forget your childhood ways and once in a while put an "I" in "team". This is not being selfish but realizing you will not move ahead unless others notice your accomplishments. As a woman you may feel rude to "toot one's own horn" but it is important to have your team recognizing what you have done.  You should never forget those who contributed to the project either - you gain additional visibility by giving it to them. But be sure to stay classy and not overly promote yourself!!


Be assertive, but not pushy in all business transactions. This can be everything from promoting yourself, wanting new responsibilities, or recognition from management. Magalene Powell-Meeks, Deputy CIO at Jet Propulsion recognizes it is a fine line of bring assertive and pushy but to remember these few things. Don't complain about your team, it will show you are unprofessional and unable to handle situations. Stray away from bad mouthing management, and most of all recognize the culture of your corporation, and "let that guide how you express yourself."


Women need to make their mark in the corporation they work for. "If you are good at what you do, and conduct yourself in a professional manner, you can compete for the next level". The possibilities are endless you just have to take a trip outside your comfort zone to build trust, visibility, dedication, and relationships.


For more information on career success, Click Here! And to check out CIO for articles and advice on business technology leadership, Click Here!


What is Girls Get IT?
ggitFlorida Girls Get IT is a partnership between Florida Distance Learning Consortium, Cisco Systems, Inc.,  Florida's Community College and University system to create gender equity in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) & Information Technology (IT).
Why Does Florida Need This Initiative?
To remain competitive, Florida must offer a highly trained workforce. Nearly 75% of future jobs in the United States will require the use of technology, yet fewer than 33% of students in computer courses are female and women comprise only 20% of IT professionals and 13% of engineers.
Contact: Leah Cook, Project Director
Phone: 850.922.3359
Fax: 850.922.3109
Useful Links for Teachers, Students, & Parents

PBS: NOW- Global Warming


Great lesson plan for teaching your students about global warming! The Lesson is broken down into five parts, referring back to the NOW broadcast on PBS and handouts provided online. To see if this lesson sounds like something you would like to teach, Click Here!


Math is Fun: Teacher's Lounge 


Keep your students entertained while they learn! This site offers puzzles, quizzes, interactive learning tools and much more to keep your students interested in the subject matter. Check it out, Click Here!


Climate Change

Kids can start going green by learning about the climate, weather, and how it affects us. This site offers kids valuable information as well as interactive games, history, and what we can do to make a difference. Check it out, Click Here!

Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab

Educational science experiments for kids of all ages. The website has science riddles, home projects, secret lab notes, a pot of gold contest and much more! Check it out, Click Here!




Awarded 2007 Best Parenting Site, MommyCast features a weekly internet radio show for mothers, by mothers. Get advice and discover the fullness of motherhood and life. Click Here!




Everything a parent needs to make the day more fun, all in one site. FamilyFun offers a variety of activities families can do together, as well as recipe and party ideas, travel information, and access to FamilyFun Magazine. Check it out, Click Here!

Florida Distance Learning Consortium | Girls Get IT! | Tallahassee | FL | 32310