Manufacturing Today - August 2017 - 55
girlstart gains a new donor, allowing it to continue building girls'
interest and engagement in the stem fields
In an effort to continue to support programs that encourage
girls at an early age to embrace STEM-related subjects in school and to
embolden them to pursue careers in technology, orderTalk Inc., a leading provider of restaurant online ordering software and services, has
donated $5,000 to select Girlstart summer camps and after school programs nationwide. orderTalk's donation demonstrates the importance
of supporting STEM, which can have a big impact on manufacturing.
"As the CEO for a progressive digital ordering company that
develops software for the restaurant industry, the demand for
innovative food ordering solutions is exploding, and with it
the need for qualified and talented employees," says orderTalk
CEO Patrick Eldon. "We need to recalibrate the gender imbalance in the computer programing and software development
industries and the best way to do that is to continue to support,
encourage and inspire students at a young age."
Girlstart's mission is to increase girls' interest and engagement in STEM through innovative, nationally-recognized informal STEM education programs. orderTalk's donation will
fund three Girlstart-sponsored week-long summer STEM
camps, helping to offset the cost of STEM supplies and materials and support the professional development of pre-service
teachers. The selected STEM camps, which are in Sunnyvale,
Calif., Bellevue, Wash. and Elgin, Ill., are for girls in fourth to
eighth grade in high-need communities.
Camps feature intensive technology components, such as
app development and video game development. All of the Girlstart summer campers at these locations are able to participate
in summer programs at no cost.
"We want to support the process of discovery among young
girls and demonstrate that STEM topics are admirable and ex-
hilarating subjects, deserving of their attention," Eldon notes.
"Learning should be fun and STEM subjects, when taught with
passion, are stimulating and engaging."
Recent surveys indicate that while girls show an increased
interest in STEM subjects at age 11, they begin to lose interest
in these same subjects between the ages of 13 and 17 years of
age. Programs such as those offered by Girlstart are intended
to be highly interactive, thought-provoking and engaging to
help spark and sustain girls' interest through the transitional
high-school years, and into college and beyond.
"Currently, only 18 percent of computer science degrees and
24 percent of STEM jobs are held by women," Girlstart Deputy
Director Julie Shannan says. "We can't continue to ignore the
fact that the technology industry is growing faster than any
other industry, yet evidence suggests that interest in technology-related careers by females is stalling. Girlstart programs
strive to reverse this trend by captivating girls early on in their
This fall, orderTalk's donation also will fund two weekly
Girlstart STEM after-school programs in Texas at high-need
elementary schools in Grand Prairie and Irving. The programs
engage fourth and fifth grade girls in hands-on STEM activities
based upon their schools' curriculum. mt
AUGUST 2017 manufacturing-today.com