Engaging more young people in creating civic tech

Communities / Article

Photo credit: Girlville 

Next month, a group of high school students and tech and media professionals will meet in New York City for the first time as part of a new mentoring program sponsored by Knight Foundation

In collaboration with The Lower Eastside Girls Club of NY, the Tech Breakfasts are seeking to expose pre-college students from underserved neighborhoods to tech and media careers, just as they start to make decisions about their future education and career path. 

The breakfast series – the first two of which will focus on girls – will cover a range of topics, including careers in entrepreneurship and app development, digital and social media and of particular interest to Knight, using technology to deepen civic engagement. The gatherings also seek to teach these young people the important networking skills they’ll need to be successful in these growing industries. 

Knight Foundation, the leading funder in media innovation, is sponsoring the series as a way to build more diverse and inclusive tech and media sectors, and to ultimately engage more young people in creating civic technologies that strengthen communities.  The first breakfast will take place on Feb. 23, 2013.

The Lower Eastside Girls Club has a 15-year history of running mentoring programs for at-risk teens. This program will expand on the Girls Club’s STEM programs, which introduce teens to basic digital and electronic design skills including audio design, robotics, 3D graphic design and modeling, digital filmmaking and immersive theatre and storytelling. Next fall, the girls club will open its new 30,000 square-foot center on Avenue D in the heart of the public housing projects where most of their members live. It will house a 30-foot dome planetarium, a science lab, audio recording and production studio, digital film and video lab, and a physical computing lab and various other classrooms for arts, entrepreneurship and academic support programs. Visit the Girls Club’s “Girlville” program blog for more info.

If you are a female professional based in New York City, and work in the fields of technology, new media, journalism, venture capital or run your own business related to these fields, you can apply to be a mentor here.

By Raina Kumra, a consultant to Knight Foundation