Education
12:28 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Girls in Tech Comes to Milwaukee

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich interviews Beth Akerlund, managing director of the Milwaukee Chapter of Girls in Tech.

A Milwaukee area group forms to attract girls and women to technology fields.

Girls in Tech has a chapter starting in Milwaukee to get women of all ages involved with technology.
Credit Kalexanderson, flickr

Recent data from the National Science Foundation shows that women receive just more than half of all undergraduate degrees awarded in STEM subjects.

But still there are significant gaps in areas such as computer sciences and engineering, in which women represented only 18 percent of all degree recipients.

A new organization is trying to change the paradigm in southeastern Wisconsin. 

Girls in Tech, a Denver-based organization, is a non-profit that started in 2007 driven to provide more opportunities for women of all ages in the technology field. There are 32 chapters worldwide and Beth Akerlund is the founder of the Milwaukee chapter, sponsored by Centare and Translator.

She says there are a lot of women in southeast Wisconsin who are interested in technology who are not given much opportunity to network, to learn from each other, to foster technological skills, and to find careers.

“What does Milwaukee need? What can we provide? How can we help in these areas for Girls in Tech?," Akerlund asks.

Akerlund is trying to establish a peer mentor program for those who want to go into technology. The chapter hopes to partner with schools and with organizations like the Girl Scouts in order to connect with these girls.

“[We will] build those relationships with each other and learn from each other based on our experiences or paths that we’ve taken to get to where we are,” Akerlund says.

The Milwaukee chapter is still in the beginning stages, but the word is quickly getting out there. They have a social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Meet Up.

Their next event will be on Wednesday July 31st at 8:15 AM in two different locations: Alterra in Bay View and Panera in Brookfield. They are looking for mentors and mentees who want to participate.