Two girls looking at a computer screen(Photo courtesy of City of Sacramento)

Dozens of middle and high school girls will visit the Sacramento State campus next week for a free, two-day event aimed at encouraging young women to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The free, two-day DigiGirlz event takes place Thursday, March 23, and Friday, March 24. The event is co-hosted by the city of Sacramento, Sacramento State and Microsoft. The event will feature a variety of hands-on activities such as coding and working with a 3D printer, visiting the health sciences labs, hearing from powerful speakers on the career panel and taking a college campus tour, all with a STEM focus to empower young girls in the study of technology.

“DigiGirlz is a great public-private partnership that helps empower our girls to be innovative, dream big and to get hands-on experience in science and technology,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said. “I’m proud the City of Sacramento continues to support this program and hope it continues to inspire and engender a creative spirit for our students to nurture for years to come.”

The city signed a digital alliance with Microsoft in 2015, pledging to work together to provide technology training specifically to women and girls. The first DigiGirlz event took place the following year, drawing more than 60 attendees from middle and high schools across Sacramento. Organizers hope to attract 100 participants for this year’s event.

The need for such training is acute: 77 percent of jobs in the next decade will require tech skills, Microsoft estimates, but only a small percentage of young women are pursuing computer science education to prepare for those jobs. Seven out of 10 girls express an interest in science and math at an early age, suggesting that interest may wane during middle or high school.

“As a public university, Sacramento State plays an important role in preparing the diverse and well-trained workforce of tomorrow,” said Robin Carter, Sacramento State interim executive director of diversity. “A key part of broadening participation in STEM fields is ensuring students know about opportunities available to them, and we are thrilled to partner on this wonderful event to help our city’s young women nurture their passion for science and technology.”

“Microsoft is excited to partner with the great people and resources of Sacramento to offer DigiGirlz,” said Melinda Anderson, Community Manager for Microsoft NorCal. “This international program is part of our YouthSpark offerings, Microsoft’s commitment to increase access for all youth to learn computer science and empower them to achieve more. Working with the city and University has been a great partnership that multiplies what we are able to offer the students.”

DigiGirlz takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 23-24. Lunch and snacks will be provided both days. 

Media interested in covering the event may contact Linda Tucker at the City of Sacramento, (916) 808-7523 (office), (916) 802-9111 (cell) or – Jonathan Morales