As the New Year begins, High-Tech High Heels is more committed than ever to closing the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers. Over the past 18 years, HTHH has funded programs that make a meaningful difference in the lives of middle and high school girls in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. The teenage years are critical for girls, as 4 in 5 STEM college students make their degree decisions in high school or earlier, and 12-17 year old girls are continuing to opt out of the STEM academic pipeline every day.
“As we reflect on our efforts over nearly 2 decades, we are encouraged by our progress,” shares Laura Steffek, High-Tech High Heels President. HTHH grants have resulted in more than 1,000 girls attending AP Physics Camps, 800 STEM educators attending Gender Equity Training, and 1,000 school counselors attending workshops on STEM careers in North Texas.
The gender gap in STEM careers is not just a Dallas issue; it’s a national issue. In a study of 10 major metropolitan areas across the country, it was found that there were no other organizations like High-Tech High Heels that fund diverse, effective programs that encourage and prepare young women to excel in STEM. “In order to maintain our focus on growing our impact in the cities in which we currently operate while also expanding across America, we created a new structure that establishes the national organization, High-Tech High Heels, and introduces regional HTHH chapters as their own entities,” Robin Bray, North Texas Chapter President, announces.
The new national High-Tech High Heels, led by President Laura Steffek, will be primarily responsible for overseeing the non-profit organization as a whole. The national team will lead expansion efforts and explore potential cities for chapters, conduct annual audits, govern regional chapters, and maintain the High-Tech High Heels brand. With your support, the regional chapters, HTHH-North Texas, led by President Robin Bray, and HTHH-Silicon Valley, led by President Maria Olsen, will continue to fund diverse, effective programs that encourage and prepare young women to excel in STEM.
High-Tech High Heels established a long-term goal two years ago to expand operations to 5 cities by 2026. Since then, they launched a Silicon Valley chapter in 2017 and will choose the next site in 2019.
While the goals are growing and structure is changing at High-Tech High Heels, its mission remains the same: to increase the number of girls who graduate high school prepared to pursue STEM degrees. High-Tech High Heels is operated entirely by volunteers and donors who believe in this mission, and in order to support their expansion, HTHH has elected 41 dedicated board members and numerous volunteers in North Texas and the Silicon Valley. These board members and volunteers range from senior executives at Fortune 100 companies to new college graduates and all of them use their gifts and talents to inspire young girls. “We are incredibly thankful for all of our committed volunteers and donors,” Robin Bray says. “Our work is only possible with their support.”
If you are interested in donating to High-Tech High Heels, explore donation options here and see what your donation can provide for young girls in your community.
If you, or anyone you know, would be interested in volunteering for High-Tech High Heels, fill out a quick volunteer form and a HTHH representative will contact you and share different options about how you can join the team. “I vividly remember the first female engineer I met,” shares Laura Steffek. “There was so much power in meeting someone who looked like me who was an engineer. It made me realize I could become one, too. So many people helped me along the way. Creating opportunities for girls to see themselves as engineers is my way of giving back.” Laura’s experience is much like the experiences of teenage girls who meet High-Tech High Heels volunteers who are a part of the Speakers Bureau, one of the many ways to volunteer for HTHH.
And last but not least…
Energized and encouraged by its expansion and organizational changes, High-Tech High Heels refreshed it’s brand with a new logo and look! Head over to hightechhighheels.org now and check it out.