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April 04, 2016

AAUW North Hills Pittsburgh Branch to Host Dynamic STEM Program for Girls at La Roche College

PITTSBURGH, April 4, 2016 – Although women hold close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs. AAUW North Hills Pittsburgh Branch (formally North Hills-McKnight Branch) is one of 23 AAUW National Tech Savvy sites working to improve those numbers.

On May 14, North Hills Pittsburgh Branch will host an AAUW National Tech Savvy program. The daylong event is designed to show girls firsthand how STEM fields can lead to exciting careers. The event, part of the AAUW National Tech Savvy Pilot Program and funded in part by Alcoa Foundation, will welcome an estimated 150 girls in grades six through nine and their families to La Roche University.

Peggy Schmiedecke, La Roche’s assistant director of admissions and AAUW representative, said “Middle school is a critical time when girls start to make decisions about their future. La Roche University believes no matter the science, Tech Savvy will offer opportunities to the girls and show them how to prepare for amazing STEM careers right here in Pittsburgh.”

Event information and registration is available online.

“This is our first year planning Tech Savvy, and we are very thankful for the overwhelming support from our local community,” Dr. Susan Banerjee, president of the AAUW North Hills Pittsburgh branch, said. “We know girls want to make a difference, so we will once again give them hands-on, real-world problem-solving activities to show them STEM is relevant and fun. A very important piece of our programming is exposing the girls to outstanding women mentors, so they, in turn, will mentor other girls.”

AAUW’s Tech Savvy and similar programs offer a way to increase the number of women in the STEM pipeline. Alcoa Foundation partners with AAUW in the United States and Hungary to support these programs and increase STEM opportunities for girls.

“Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation value diversity in the workforce and are committed to supporting girls in pursuit of STEM focused careers,”Alcoa Foundation Program Manager Ryan Kish said. “Through engaging, hands-on programs like Tech Savvy, we can work with AAUW and educators in our community to create excitement and awareness of careers that students and parents may not know even exist.”

Recommendations and suggestions for how institutions and employers can foster more women in these fields, particularly in the lucrative engineering and tech jobs, appear in AAUW’s research report, “Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing.”

“This is an exciting time for women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” Ana Kay Yaghoubian, STEM senior manager at AAUW, said. “What’s great about Tech Savvy is that it’s a family affair. Parents take part in the conference because they are an important part of the solution. We want moms, dads and other supportive family members to encourage girls to pursue their STEM passions because too many girls still get the message that those fields aren’t for them.”

Created in 2006 by Tamara Brown, former president of the AAUW Buffalo, N.Y. Branch, Tech Savvy has since served more than 5,000 girls. As a result of her work, Ms. Brown was honored as a White House Champion of Change.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. The nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university partners. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, members have examined and taken positions on fundamental educational, social, economic and political issues.

Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 64 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $635 million in communities worldwide. In 2015, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the company's signature Month of Service program in 2015, 47 percent of Alcoa employees took part in 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 300,000 people and 400 nonprofit organizations.

About La Roche University: A private liberal arts college in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, La Roche University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors, six graduate degree programs and one doctorate program, with particular strengths in education, business, criminal justice, psychology, and health and medical sciences, as well as interior design and graphic design. This residential college provides a vibrant campus community for more than 1,500 men and women enjoying 30-plus student organizations and an exciting NCAA Div. III athletics program. Founded by the Sisters of Divine Providence in 1963, La Roche University embraces its Catholic heritage while welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. With a legacy of social justice and a commitment to international exchange, La Roche University educates students to be lifelong learners and achievers in an increasingly diverse and global society.