Local News

Camp Gives Girls a Lesson in Career Planning

Posted July 17, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Some Triangle girls are spending their summers thinking about the future, thanks to a program aimed at getting young women plugged into technology.

A week-long, IBM-sponsored camp is drawing 30 eighth and ninth graders from Wake and Durham counties to work in teams, learning how to build Web sites and run a company.

With fewer young women going into science and technology fields, the camp is designed to encourage girls to pursue those kinds of careers.

"We tend to lose a lot of women in the middle school years," IBM's Beth Barger said. "They don't get the encouragement or support they need to continue with math and science."

Eighth-grader Sarah Shirley was working on a team to solve the problems of an imaginary software company. She enjoyed the challenge.

"When you think of technology, it's more of a non-feminine thing, but I think females usually do just as well," Shirley said.

With encouragement and help, the girls may find themselves on a lucrative career path. For Barger, the program is a kind of investment in the company's future.

"[IBM sponsors the program] in hopes that [the students] will find their niche and pursue those activities, and that will ultimately increase the resources that we have to hire ten years from now," she said.

Students will be paired with mentors and tutors who will stay in touch by e-mail during the next school year. The girls will get help improving their grades, working on class projects and balancing school with personal life.