The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

The student newspaper of Bucks County Community College

The Centurion

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Non-profit group aims to get girls into technology fields

Techgirlz aims to inspire, reaching out to young girls in the community and urging them to dream big about opportunities in the field of technology.

Techgirlz is a non-profit organization based out of Philadelphia with a goal to encourage young girls to consider a career in technology. The ambition of this group is to teach girls in grades sixth through eighth the many aspects technology—everything from coding to design. Each workshop focuses on a different type of program or skill for the girls to learn.

According to, middle school-age girls who show an interest in technology tend to move farther away from it come their high school years. These studies are what helped Tracy Welson Rossman, founder and CEO of Techgirlz, discover her target age group and try to inspire them to move forward with their curiosities about the field.

In such a male-dominated field, Rossman set out four years ago to inspire young girls to ponder the idea of going after a profession in technology to even the playing field in the industry. Her mission inspired others, forming Techgirlz. Rossman has been working in IT since the mid-1990’s and has and still is a part of other organizations such as The Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise Conference and The Philadelphia Startup Leaders.

The group had held 42 “Techshopz” by the end of the 2013-14 school year in the Philadelphia area. Bucks began hosting these workshops since last year, according to Arta Szathmary, a retired full-time professor at Bucks and member of the curriculum committee for Techgirlz.

Szathmary took on the responsibility of marketing the events on campus while she continued to teach part time in the STEM department. She strongly believes in the Techgirlz mission and has been a part of many events.

“I love the new stuff [technology]; the only thing that is constant is change,” said Szarthmary.

The professor was the first to hold a workshop for teachers for the use of WebCT, which came before Blackboard and Canvas. She is also involved in PA4C, or the Pennsylvania Community College Computer Consortium, a group with an agenda to improve education in computer science within two-year schools.

Techgirlz conferences and workshops are held in the Philadelphia area, at places like Apple stores, where young girls would bring their own laptops and learn different tech material. Szathmary thought why not put the kids in a lab.

In the spring of last year, they began to reserve computer labs to hold Techgirlz workshops. By September, “Techshopz” were being held on Saturdays for middle school girls.

One of the events had the girls working with a 3-D printer, which gave them to opportunity to explore the wonders of modern technology.

The workshops held last year were recognized by The Bucks County Courier Times, receiving a full paper write-up in the Life section. It was recognized for many reasons, but the fact that the events were all voluntary stood out.

There are a core group of presenters from the organization and others volunteer their time to be a part of different events.

This year, Techgirlz is back at Bucks bringing workshops, such as Minecraft, where the girls will be learning how to install software, create their own avatar, and explore the domain.

The next event will be event will be held on Saturday, March 14 from 1 4 p.m. at the Newtown campus at Bucks. The girls will learn how to create a breakout game using Multimedia Fusion 2.5 that they can save and share with friends at home.

There is one instructor and two assistants to every 20 girls, giving each one the chance to gain the maximum benefit of the time spent in the lab.

“We want the girls to feel comfortable, ask for help if they need it,” said Szathmary.

Volunteers are always encouraged to sign up. Students studying business and education majors are among those who would benefit from being a part of these occasions due to the experience that can be gained for the future. Anyone interested can visit the Techgirlz website listed below.

The Department of Labor forecasts that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million new information-technology jobs available in this country. Also studies have shown diversities in such jobs, improves problem solving, productivity, and innovation. All the more reason to help the girls find their place in the field now.

Registration and permission slips are required for all events being held through May and can be found at All events are listed here as well as on the Bucks website under Events. Each workshop has limited spaces so registrations are to be in as soon as possible.