ChickTech Starts Austin Chapter

Austin Welcomes ChickTech

ChickTech is a national non profit organization that is dedicated to retaining women in the technology workforce and increasing the number of women and girls pursuing technology-based careers. The ChickTech Austin chapter started by Nicole Engard is now accepting area students for the annual high school program.

Engard, author of Practical Open Source Software for Libraries and Content Strategist at Red Hat, spoke of her decision to start an Austin chapter of ChickTech:

“When I was in high school no one ever mentioned the possibility of a career in technology to me,” Engard said. “I know that there were computer classes and clubs, but I only ever saw boys involved so I assumed they weren’t for me. I luckily fell into a career in tech and want to be sure that girls today know that there are many options open to them.”

ChickTech chapters can offer many different programs for girls and women of all skill sets. In its first year, ChickTech Austin will focus on the signature ChickTech program for high school girls.

ChickTech: High School is a comprehensive, year-long program that introduces a cohort of 100 girls to technology. The girls generally come from under served communities and are nominated for the program by teachers who identify them based on their untapped potential for a technology career. The year kicks off with an all expenses paid (transportation, food, child care, and education) 2-day event where the girls create a hardware or software project. Throughout the year, we hold additional Saturday workshops, match each girl to a mentor, and help them enroll in internships with our partners.

These events pose some interesting challenges, as we expect that most of our participants have never had a chance to do anything like what we are offering. Our goal is to reach the girls who would make great engineers, but because of stereotypes and a lack of opportunity, may not realize it until they are already doing something else, if at all. We also strive to show the relevance of each workshop to their lives–and help them to understand that they have the ability to transform the tech industry!

As a volunteer-run non-profit, we are always searching for partners who would like to get involved through donations of expertise, volunteer time, in-kind, funding, or just by helping to get the word out. Companies and individuals can learn more about ChickTech Austin at http://austin.chicktech.org and can email inquiries to austin@chicktech.org.

ChickTech is a registered 501(c)3.