Technology Day at NH Technical Institute celebrates girl power
Tina Ouellette, left, explains a mechanical concept to Haley Markos and Anya Zlotosch, both sophomores at Dover High School, during a reverse engineering workshop, part of Girls Technology Day at NHTI on Wednesday.
Jennifer Dunn, a freshman at Dover High School, gets some hands-on experience in reverse engineering under the watchful tutelage of Leighanne Springer, a marine machinery mechanic at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. A number of shipyard employees participated in Girls Technology Day at New Hampshire Technical Institute on Wednesday. (Shawne K. Wickham/Sunday News)
Wednesday was Girls Technology Day at New Hampshire Technical Institute, and more than 200 girls from 17 New Hampshire middle and high schools spent the day exploring a variety of technology and engineering fields.
Dover High School teacher Jen Cove brought her students from the school's first all-girls exploratory engineering class. "We want them to meet the real-live role models that are out there," she said.
Jennifer Ouellette, a welder apprentice at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, was showing students how to operate a "virtual welding" machine. "I think it's good for girls to broaden their horizons and step outside the conventional box of what a girl is supposed to do," she said.
"Usually better," her male co-worker Chris Clark chimed in.
Clark said the shipyard historically has not been a "woman-friendly" environment. But he said, "We're trying to break that stereotype."
Justyn Constant, vice president at Technology Education Concepts, was showing Caitlin Galea, a freshman at Con-Val High in Peterborough, how to use a digital microscope. "The great thing about this new technology is that it's exciting," Constant said. "So they see opportunities for themselves."
Mary Laturnau, who works in the career development bureau at the state Department of Education, coordinated the day's activities. Last year was the first time such an event was held, and Laturnau said she expected to have 20 girls and three workshops.
Typically, just 12 percent of students in engineering and computer science classes are female, Laturnau said; she wants to change that. "We want to expose the girls to new careers," she said.
Springer said being a mechanic doesn't mean you can't also be "a lady."
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