Community powered local Tech summit

The American Association of University Women has a history of encouraging women to pursue science dating back to 1920, when a small group of women, the founders of AAUW, raised funds to purchase a gram of radium for Marie Curie to use in her research. Later in the century, AAUW worked for the passage of Title IX, which provides equal opportunities to girls not only to participate in sports, but to ensure the opportunity for them to take the same science, technology, engineering and math courses in school as boys. The focus on STEM continues in this century, as AAUW branches across the U.S., including our local Amsterdam-Gloversville-Johnstown AAUW, hold Tech Savvy events for girls.

However, the support of the community is what really makes these events a success. The recent Tech Savvy Summit for Girls was done in partnership with Fulton-Montgomery Community College, which also is a college partner member of AAUW. Faculty, staff and FM graduates volunteered their time to facilitate hands-on workshops in classrooms and labs on campus, giving the girls attending a closeup of the local community college. Thanks to Chuck Saul and Jason Radlin, the “tech men” at FM, who made sure the mics, computers and projectors were ready for our speakers, and to Chartwells for the great food.

Appreciation goes to P-TECH Principal Michael Dardaris for speaking to the adults attending about this exciting new program to help high school freshmen transition to college and careers in technology.

Generous donations from Stewart’s Shops, NBT Bank, Delta Kappa Gamma, St. Mary’s Hospital, Soroptimist International of Fulton County, Fulton County Credit Union, Fit Happens, Johnstown Teachers Association, Mayfield Teachers Association, Gloversville Teachers Association, Post Net and Fort Plain Teachers Association made it possible for the local AAUW branch to afford to hold the event at FM, purchase “bunny suits” for the girls to wear in the nanotech clean room workshop, provide registration materials, drawstring backpacks, and cover part of the cost of food.

A special thanks goes to the administration and staff at each of the 14 schools in the tri-counties who made the extra effort to bus their girls to the event even though several only had a half-day of school.

In addition, we would like to thank The Leader-Herald for sending a reporter and photographer to cover AAUW’s third annual Tech Savvy Summit for Girls on May 20.

ELIZABETH RUSSO, co-president,

Amsterdam-Gloversville-Johnstown AAUW