International tech conference GirlCon recently opened registration for its fourth annual event, taking place virtually between June 27 – 30, 2021. Above all, GirlCon’s goal is to empower young women to pursue their passions through STEM careers. Registration is free and open to all high school female and nonbinary identifying students.
An action-packed conference
This four-day conference will feature breakout, professional development and keynote sessions. Sessions will be led by industry leaders from numerous backgrounds. These leaders include Dixie Adams and Kelly Chambliss (IBM), Alyssa Miller, a cybersecurity expert, Madhulika Guhathakurta (NASA) and Hope Goins (Department of Homeland Security). There will be professional development and “Tech +” sessions that combine technology with niche career paths (e.g. Tech + Art). This year’s attendees will experience new one-on-one meetings with career experts. Additionally, GirlCon will offer coffee chats with speakers throughout the conference.
“After switching to a virtual format last year due to COVID-19, we were able to expand GirlCon’s reach to an international level,” said Co-Director Ellie Goldsmith. “We had 700 participants from 32 countries and this year, we hope to increase participation even further, inspiring the next generation of women in STEM,” added Co-Director Vidya Bharadwaj.
Taking matters into their own hands
GirlCon co-founders Kyla Guru and Molly Graton realized there were significantly less female students in their Chicagoland high school STEM classes than male. As a result, they decided to help young women and nonbinary students better connect with STEM role models. Guru and Graton are now chairpersons on the Board of Directors. However, the CORE team planned and executed the event. Significantly, many CORE team members began as participants who remain passionate about GirlCon’s mission. The 2021 dedicated team includes Goldsmith, Bharadwaj, Sneha Mohan, Prachi Gyanmote, Ally Geren, Zaryaab Khan and Kristin Yun.
“Four years ago, GirlCon was founded as part of the global effort to close the gender gap in STEM career fields,” said co-founder Kyla Guru. “Four years later, that mission is as relevant as ever and GirlCon is one way we are helping young women to not only recognize their potential, but provide the resources to achieve it.”
Bits N’ Bytes Cybersecurity Education Corp. (BNBCE) has been GirlCon’s proud collaborator since its inception, making it a true community and charitable activity. BNBCE is a national nonprofit and 501(C)(3) charity founded by Guru. GirlCon is made possible by sponsors including Balyasny Asset Management, CME Group, IBM, ISACA Chicago and Google.
GirlCon is taking place virtually Sunday, June 27 – Wednesday, June 30, 2021 from 3pm – 7pm CST daily. To learn more and to register for the free event, visit www.girlcon.org.
GirlCon is an international tech conference created by students, for students to empower the next generation of female leaders in STEM. GirlCon’s not-for-profit mission is to encourage high school students identifying as female/nonbinary to fearlessly pursue their goals, combining their passions with technology. Follow GirlCon on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Want to know more about women in STEM? Read about these trailblazing female STEM leaders!