SBVC Offers Workshop for Girls Interested in STEM

 The future of STEM is female, and San Bernardino Valley College is doing its part to ensure that girls are given opportunities to learn all about technology.

 When SBVC was approached by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools about bringing the CyberTech Girls Workshop to the Inland Empire, SBVC readily agreed to host the event. Created by Coastline Community College professor Tobi West, the workshop was created to "address the under-representation of females in the information security field," SBVC Professor of Computer Science and Computer Information Technology Roger Powell said.

On April 21, 60 middle and high school girls from 25 schools across San Bernardino and Riverside counties came to SBVC for the area's inaugural CyberTech Girls Workshop. There were four hands-on activities, with the girls learning how to understand representation of data within a computer by creating a binary bracelet with their initials and getting a closer look at

computer hardware by taking apart and putting back together a desktop computer. They also created a website about online safety and learned about the digital forensics aspects of a crime scene by collecting evidence and putting it into a forensics system.

 "The students enjoyed the activities," Powell said. "The digital forensics activity was the most popular. Workshop facilitators enjoyed the opportunity to interact with the students in a semi-formal creative environment."

 Women only represent about 10 percent of the information security workforce, Powell said, and "there are many societal pressures" that drive them away from the field. Events like the CyberTech Girls Workshop are held for middle and high schoolers because it's often around this time that they move away from computers and information technology, Powell noted, and SBVC plans on offering more of these important workshops in the future.

 "This workshop shows these girls that they can do this and there are women currently doing this in the workforce, and allows them to interact in a creative environment with female community college students and local women working in these fields," Powell said.