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TechPREP is supported by a generous grant from the Motorola Foundation and is administered by the Department of Technology and Society and the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program. It represents a collaborative effort between WISE, the New York State funded Liberty Partnerships Program and the Science and Technology Entry Program
Through a three-part progressive series of educational modules, TechPREP introduces young women from high needs school districts to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The specific modules are: Computer Science, IT, Physics, Mathematics, and Engineering applications. The rationales for focusing on these three areas are:
- Women are underrepresented in all three areas
- An early introduction to subjects that are perceived as complicated will often serve to overcome a student’s fear of the subject
- An early introduction will also serve to aid in the mastery of a subject.
TechPREP presents the modules over the course of seven Saturdays during the spring semester and follows up with a two-week summer day camp. This project aims to show young women at an early age that science and engineering are approachable subjects and that an early introduction to these subjects coupled with female role models will build confidence and lead to success. The role models are Sisters in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Research (SISTER) undergraduate mentors from the WISE program.
The primary goal of TechPREP is to eventually impact the number of women from disadvantaged and underserved communities who graduate from a college or university with a degree in a STEM field. This goal is achieved through activities that (1) increase the basic technology skills of young women, (2) increase the comfort level of young women with the subjects of mathematics and physics, (3) increase girls’ perceptions of technological and scientific based activities as a viable career option and are gender-normative for girls, and (4) increase parents’/guardians’ perceptions of technological and scientific based education/careers as suitable/desirable for girls/women.