Another female-focused STEM program to launch in Houston this fall
Houston’s growing tech scene has landed a national nonprofit aimed at encouraging high school girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Portland-based ChickTech plans on launching its first Houston program in November and running free monthly workshops through May, chapter leader Ilana Friedman-Schroit said. It’s the second Texas location for the nonprofit, which has chapters in cities such as Austin, Seattle, Boston and New York. Friedman-Schroit is the president and executive director of The Woodlands-based public relations firm V2V PR & Marketing.
Women have historically been underrepresented in STEM jobs in the U.S. For example, women held about 12 percent of U.S. engineering jobs in 2015, which was up slightly from 11 percent in 2000, according to Bloomberg.
“(ChickTech) wants to see more women leaders in engineering and technology companies,” Friedman- Schroit said. “And to do that you have to start early.”
ChickTech, which was founded in 2011, works with high school girls who come from low-income backgrounds. The Houston chapter is planning on providing transportation and food for girls in their classes. Potential pupils are nominated by area teachers before entering the program.
So far, the nonprofit has partnered with Rice University as it expands in Houston. ChickTech has four volunteer directors, including Friedman-Schroit, in its Houston chapter, according to the group’s website. The nonprofit needs about $33,000 to run this year in the Bayou City, Friedman-Schroit said.
In the future, ChickTech is aiming to connect students with internships.
Another female-focused STEM group, Austin-based Girlstart, also launched in the Houston area in April 2016. Girlstart offers after-school programs and works with girls younger than high school.