Annual 2016 Newsletter
Happy holidays and best wishes from LITAS For Girls (Learning IT, Apps, and Software For Girls)! 2016 has been an exciting year for us, and we want to share some of our favorite parts with you.
Year in Review
Phoenix Summer Incubator
On June 20th, LITAS launched our inaugural summer incubator in computer science and entrepreneurship, the first program of its kind in Arizona. Over thirty girls from Phoenix, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Chandler, and Tempe participated in the program. Through our grassroots approach, LITAS was able to provide scholarships for the incubator to a cohort of students from Homeward Bound, a local nonprofit dedicated to bettering the lives of families affected by domestic abuse.
The girls pitched these projects to judges from industry and academia — including Joan Koerber-Walker, CEO of the Arizona Biotechnology Association (AZBio), Cynthia Pickering from Science Foundation Arizona, and even Phoenix’s vice-mayor, Daniel Valenzuela.
Going Global: LITAS Summer Incubator in Haryana, India
2016 was the year that LITAS For Girls went global, holding our second summer incubator in CS and entrepreneurship in Haryana, India.Through our key partnership with CLDAV Schools, Sector 11, Panchkula, LITAS For Girls’ six day summer incubator reached more than fifty girls from seventh through twelth grade. Haryana is a region of India in which girls have traditionally been disadvantaged, but which, through the actions of schools and government initiatives, is slowly making progress in this field. The girls in our International summer incubator gave us even more hope for the future, by creating apps to report female infanticide, match girls with high-paying jobs, and improve teacher quality in underprivileged schools. Many of our LITAS-ers are even continuing with their projects and applying to international science competitions!
Spreading Our Wings: Announcing the New LITAS Chapters
LITAS has also started its first chapter abroad in Haryana, India, headed by chapter leaders Anisha Rajput, Lakshita Goyal, and Saakshi Sharma, with a focus on online learning. This chapter has been started through our partnership with CLDAV Schools, Sector 11, Panchkula, and includes over fifty girls from eighth through twelth grade.
Online Learning: Launch of LITAS Learn
Alumni Spotlight: Vilina Mehta
A Big Congratulations to our LITAS member, Vilina Mehta, who was chosen as one of 50 National Winners of the National Center for Women in IT (NCWIT) Aspirations in Computing Award from more than 3500 applicants from around the nation. Vilina receives a thousand dollar scholarship and an all-expense-paid weekend to the Bank of America headquarters in North Carolina, where she will network with top executives and other national award winners.
Vilina was also a semifinalist in the National Siemens Competition for her bioinformatics project, “Using Bioinformatics to Correlate Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) to Parkinson’s Disease (PD).”
Vilina was a part of the first after-school club of LITAS. From the NCWIT Press Release: “In this program, she learned how to use Alice, Bootstrap, and MIT App Inventor.” Vilina used MIT app inventor to develop a nutrition app, and she “presented her nutrition app as well as her research on Parkinson’s to several judges, including a VP of Intel, at the first annual LITAS technical showcase.”
In the future, Vilina hopes to apply new computational technologies to solve problems in medicine. Vilina writes that “LITAS played an important role in encouraging me to pursue CS + STEM, as it reinforced to me the idea that anyone can program to create something that can have an impact.”
We are very proud of Vilina and excited to see what the future holds for her!
Calling all STEM and Computer Science Projects! Enter our Technology Showcase
Been working on a cool app since you finished LITAS? Do you think your project could make a real impact on someone’s life?
Present your project at the 2017 LITAS Technology Showcase on April 1st, 2017 (not an April Fool’s joke!). Come present your projects to judges who are leaders in STEM in their respective fields, from industry, academia, and even government. Check out pictures and a blog post from our 2015-2016 tech showcase here. For details about this year’s showcase, register here by Friday, March 17th.
More things that you could do with your project– send us a short blurb about your project and we’ll feature it on the LITAS website! Also make sure you submit your project to the local science fair in the spring; if you’re in middle school, your project could be chosen for the Broadcom Masters Competition. If you’re in high school, you could be chosen for the Intel International Science and Engineering fair.
LITAS is planning to collaborate with colleges to hold a unique Computer Science and STEM Video Contest in 2017. We’re challenging kids to make educational videos for other kids, on topics dedicated to increasing diversity in STEM. Stay tuned for more details and official announcements!
Apply to be a part of the 2017 Summer Incubator Planning Team
Passionate about helping guide young women in computer science and STEM? Apply to be a part of our planning team for the 2017 incubators! If you are interested, contact us today for an application.
We couldn’t have done all this without our 2016 sponsors and partners. A big thank you to them!
Does your organization want to be featured here? Contact us for sponsorship opportunities.
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LITAS For Girls is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your gift is fully tax-deductible.