On April 1, 2017, The Innovation Center at Rutgers Preparatory School hosted a Girls Exploring Technology (G.E.T.) conference, giving girls from area schools a chance to hear from women who are local and national leaders in the fields of technology, pharmaceuticals, and medicine.
The keynote speaker for this event was Nandini Ramani, Vice President of Engineering at Twitter, in charge of the Engineering Effectiveness team as well as product strategy for India. Ms. Ramani spoke about her history and how she ended up working at Twitter, as well as some of the challenges women in the industry face and how they may overcome them.
After a brief Q&A with Ms. Ramani, the attendees split up into small group breakout sessions led by industry practitioners in New Jersey, including iCIMS, SAP, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and Merck Animal Health. These sessions offered hands-on activities and the opportunity for the girls to experience technology and the design process first-hand. In a session run by a team from iCIMS, for example, the girls split up into teams to brainstorm an iPhone app, teaching them about the ideation process. At the end of the session, each team presented their app idea (along with the icon they designed and created to put up on the mock iPhone).
Other sessions included hands on work with robotics from SAP, a laparoscopic surgery demonstration by Lorna Rodriguez, MD, PhD, from The Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ, and a presentation on Data Analytics from Harjeet Virdi, Associate Director, R&D IT at Merck Animal Health.
After the attendees visited each of the four breakout sessions, they gathered back together for a panel discussion with women from the companies and organizations they had seen and interacted with earlier in the day, offering a chance for them to ask questions and hear discussion.
This event, like the other G.E.T. conferences, was meant to inspire and empower young women to explore careers and areas of study in STEM, and to introduce them to some of the women who have made careers out of their passion for technology and the sciences. The G.E.T. conference on April 1 was made possible by a partnership with Johnson & Johnson.