This MCC/AT&T technology event was all about the girls

At the GIFT Day event, which focused on careers in the STEM fields, MCC-Business & Technology president Dr. Jackie Gill welcomes the attendees. (Photo by KSHB’s Charlie Keegan, @CharlieKeegan41)

About 300 young women in grades 6 through 12 got hands-on with technology Sept. 27 at an event at MCC’s Business & Technology campus.

“You are in the right place at the right time,” campus president Dr. Jackie Gill told the middle school and high school girls. “There are high-in-demand jobs, and females should be represented. Don’t be afraid of science, technology, engineering and math careers.”

The Girls in Future Technologies (GIFT) Day was a partnership of Metropolitan Community College, Women of AT&T’s MO-KAN Chapter and education initiative AT&T Aspire.

Students came from throughout the metropolitan area, including the Kansas City, Mo., Shawnee Mission and Olathe school districts and Hogan Preparatory Academy. During the day they heard engaging speakers, attended workshops and a “fireside chat,” visited interactive booths and worked with real AT&T equipment.

KCTV-5’s Abigael James previewed the event between 5 and 7 a.m. Here she prepares for a live interview with Ryan Meador (left), dean of student development at MCC-Business & Technology.

Presenters and facilitators were a combination of AT&T, MCC and Kansas City area professionals, including scientists, engineers and technological specialists. Students also learned about STEM careers and available scholarships and internships.

GIFT Day topics included city planning, telecommunications, coding, tech start-ups, building the cloud, CSI forensics, data analytics, women in leadership, and college readiness.

This booth focused on career opportunities in crime scene investigation. (Photo by KSHB’s Charlie Keegan, @CharlieKeegan41)

Women of AT&T chapters are holding Girls in Future Technologies Days across the nation for middle and high school girls. The event was created to tighten the significant gap between young women and young men in STEM career fields. AT&T Pioneers — Lewis & Clark and the NETwork — National also are supporting the event in Kansas City.

U.S. News & World Report reported in 2015 that women are 47 percent of the U.S. workforce but are much less represented in science and engineering jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up 39 percent of chemists and material scientists, 28 percent of environmental scientists and geoscientists, 16 percent of chemical engineers and 12 percent of civil engineers.

More scenes from GIFT Day:

Fox 4’s Nicole DiAntonio (with microphone) interviews two participants.
Dr. Jackie Gill is interviewed by reporter Charlie Keegan of 41 Action News.
Dr. Gill with two GIFT Day participants

WDAF Fox 4, KCTV-5 and KSHB 41 Action News covered the event. Click on the stations to watch the coverage.